Book of Exodus

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  • Published date: April 9, 2020
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The 2nd Book of Moses


Blessing during Bondage in Egypt
1:1 These are the names of the sons of Is-
rael who entered Egypt – each man with his
household entered with Jacob: 1: Reuben,
Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 1:3 Issachar, Zebulun,
and Benjamin, 1:4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and
Asher. 1:5 All the people who were directly de-
scended from Jacob numbered seventy. But
 sn Chapter 1 introduces the theme of bondage in Egypt
and shows the intensifying opposition to the fulfillment of
promises given earlier to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The
first seven verses announce the theme of Israel’s prosper-
ity in Egypt. The second section (vv. 8-14) reports continued
prosperity in the face of deliberate opposition. The third sec-
tion (vv. 15-21) explains the prosperity as divine favor in spite
of Pharaoh’s covert attempts at controlling the population.
The final verse records a culmination in the developing tyr-
anny and provides a transition to the next section – Pharaoh
commands the open murder of the males. The power of God
is revealed in the chapter as the people flourish under the
forces of evil. However, by the turn of affairs at the end of the
chapter, the reader is left with a question about the power
of God – “What can God do?” This is good Hebrew narrative,
moving the reader through tension after tension to reveal the
sovereign power and majesty of the Lord God, but calling for
faith every step of the way. See also D.W.Wicke, “The Literary
Structure of Exodus 1:2–2:10,” JSOT 24 (1982): 99-107.
 tn Heb “now these” or “and these.” The vav (ו) disjunctive
marks a new beginning in the narrative begun in Genesis.
 sn The name of the book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible
is ת ֹומ ְשׁ (shÿmot), the word for “Names,” drawn from the be-
ginning of the book. The inclusion of the names at this point
forms a literary connection to the book of Genesis. It indicates
that the Israelites living in bondage had retained a knowledge
of their ancestry, and with it, a knowledge of God’s promise.
 tn The expression ל ֵא ָר ׂ ְש ִי י ֵנ ְ ּב (bÿne yisra’el, “sons of Israel”)
in most places refers to the nation as a whole and can be
translated “Israelites,” although traditionally it has been ren-
dered “the children of Israel” or “the sons of Israel.” Here it re-
fers primarily to the individual sons of the patriarch Israel, for
they are named. But the expression is probably also intended
to indicate that they are the Israelites (cf. Gen 29:1, “eastern
people,” or “easterners,” lit., “sons of the east”).
 tn Heb “aman and his house.” Since this serves to explain
“the sons of Israel,” it has the distributive sense. So while the
“sons of Israel” refers to the actual sons of the patriarch, the
expression includes their families (cf. NIV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
 tn The word שׁ ֶפ ֶנ (nefesh) is often translated “soul.” But the
word refers to the whole person, the body with the soul, and
so “life” or “person” is frequently a better translation.
 tn The expression in apposition to שׁ ֶפ ֶנ (nefesh) literally
says “those who went out from the loins of Jacob.” This distin-
guishes the entire company as his direct descendants.
 sn Gen 46 describes in more detail Jacob’s coming to
Egypt with his family. The Greek text of Exod 1:5 and of Gen
46:27 and two Qumran manuscripts, have the number as
seventy-five, counting the people a little differently. E. H. Mer-
rill in conjunctionwith F. Delitzsch notes that the list in Gen 46
of those who entered Egypt includes Hezron and Hamul, who
did so in potentia, since they were born after the family en-
tered Egypt. Joseph’s sons are also included, though they too
were born in Egypt. “The listmust not be pressed too literally”
(E. H.Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 49).
Joseph was already in Egypt, 1:6 and in time0
Joseph and his brothers and all that generation
died. 1:7 The Israelites, however, were fruit-
ful, increased greatly, multiplied, and became ex-
tremely strong, so that the land was filled with
1:8 Then a new king, who did not know
 tn Heb “and Joseph was in Egypt” (so ASV). The disjunc-
tive word order in Hebrew draws attention to the fact that Jo-
seph, in contrast to his brothers, did not come to Egypt at the
same time as Jacob.
0 tn The text simply uses the vav (ו) consecutive with the
preterite, “and Joseph died.” While this construction shows
sequence with the preceding verse, it does not require that
the death follow directly the report of that verse. In fact, read-
ers know from the record in Genesis that the death of Joseph
occurred after a good number of years. The statement as-
sumes the passage of time in the natural course of events.
 tn The verse has a singular verb, “and Joseph died, and
all his brothers, and all that generation.” Typical of Hebrew
style the verb need only agree with the first of a compound
sn Since the deaths of “Joseph and his brothers and all that
generation” were common knowledge, their mention must
serve some rhetorical purpose. In contrast to the flourishing
of Israel, there is death. This theme will appear again: In spite
of death in Egypt, the nation flourishes.
 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”
 tn The disjunctive vav marks a contrast with the note
about the deaths of the first generation.
 tn Using ד ֹא ְמ (mÿ’od) twice intensifies the idea of their be-
coming strong (see GKC 431-32 §133.k).
sn The text is clearly going out of its way to say that the
people of Israel flourished in Egypt. The verbs ה ָר ָ ּפ (parah, “be
fruitful”), ץ ַר ָשׁ (sharats, “swarm, teem”), ה ָב ָר (ravah, “multi-
ply”), and ם ַצ ָע (’atsam, “be strong, mighty”) form a literary link
to the creation account in Genesis. The text describes Israel’s
prosperity in the terms of God’s original command to be fruit-
ful andmultiply and fill the earth, to show that their prosperity
was by divine blessing and in compliance with the will of God.
The commission for the creation to fill the earth and subdue it
would now begin tomaterialize through the seed of Abraham.
 sn It would be difficult to identify who this “new king”
might be, since the chronology of ancient Israel and Egypt is
continually debated. Scholars who take the numbers in the
Bible more or less at face value would place the time of Ja-
cob’s going down to Egypt in about 1876 b.c. This would put
Joseph’s experience in the period prior to the Hyksos control
of Egypt (1720-1570’s), and everything in the narrative about
Joseph points to a native Egyptian setting and not a Hyksos
one. Joseph’s death, then, would have been around 1806
b.c., just a few years prior to the end of the 12th Dynasty of
Egypt. This marked the end of the mighty Middle Kingdom of
Egypt. The relationship between the Hyksos (also Semites)
and the Israelites may have been amicable, and the Hyksos
thenmight verywell be the enemies that the Egyptians feared
in Exodus 1:10. Itmakes good sense to see the new king who
did not know Joseph as either the founder (Amosis, 1570-
1546) or an early king of the powerful 18th Dynasty (like
Thutmose I). Egypt under this new leadership drove out the
Hyksos and reestablished Egyptian sovereignty. The new rul-
ers certainly would have been concerned about an increasing
Semite population in their territory (see E. H.Merrill, Kingdom
of Priests, 49-55).
about Joseph, came to power over Egypt.
1:9 He said to his people, “Look at the Israel-
ite people, more numerous and stronger than we
are! 1:10 Come, let’s deal wisely with them. Oth-
erwise they will continue to multiply, and if a
war breaks out, they will ally themselves with
our enemies and fight against us and leave0 the
1:11 So they put foremen over the Israel-
ites to oppress them with hard labor. As a re-
sult they built Pithom and Rameses as store
 tn The relative clause comes last in the verse in Hebrew. It
simply clarifies that the new king had no knowledge about Jo-
seph. It also introduces a major theme in the early portion of
Exodus, as a later Pharaoh will claim not to know who Yahweh
is. The Lord, however, will work to make sure that Pharaoh
and all Egypt will know that he is the true God.
 tn Heb “arose.”
 tn Heb “and he said.”
 tn The particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) introduces the foundational
clause for the exhortation to follow by drawing the listeners’
attention to the Israelites. In other words, the exhortation that
follows is based on this observation. The connection could be
rendered “since, because,” or the like.
 tn The verb is the Hitpael cohortative of ם ַכ ָח (khakam, “to
be wise”). This verb has the idea of acting shrewdly, dealing
wisely. The basic idea in the word group is that of skill. So a
skillful decision is required to prevent the Israelites from mul-
tiplying anymore.
sn Pharaoh’s speech invites evaluation. How wise did his
plans prove to be?
 tn The word ן ֶ ּפ (pen) expresses fear or precaution and can
also be translated “lest” or “else” (R. J.Williams, Hebrew Syn-
tax, 75-76, §461).
 tn The verb can be translated simply “will multiply,” but
since Pharaoh has already indicated that he is aware they
were doing that, the nuance here must mean to multiply all
themore, or to continue tomultiply. Cf. NIV “will become even
more numerous.”
 tn The words י ִ ּכ ה ָי ָה ְו (vÿhayah ki) introduce a conditional
clause – “if” (see GKC 335 §112.y).
 tn Heb “and [lest] he [Israel] also be joined to.”
0 tn Heb “and go up from.” All the verbs coming after the
particle ן ֶ ּפ (pen, “otherwise, lest” in v. 10) have the same force
and are therefore parallel. These are the fears of the Egyp-
tians. This explains why a shrewd policy of population control
was required. They wanted to keep Israel enslaved; they did
not want them to become too numerous and escape.
 tn Heb “princes of work.” The word י ֵר ׂ ָש (sare, “princes”)
has been translated using words such as “ruler,” “prince,”
“leader,” “official,” “chief,” “commander,” and “captain” in
different contexts. It appears again in 2:14 and 18:21 and
25. Hebrew ס ַמ (mas) refers to a labor gang organized to pro-
vide unpaid labor, or corvée (Deut 20:11; Josh 17:13; 1 Kgs
9:15, 21). The entire phrase has been translated “foremen,”
which combines the idea of oversight and labor. Cf. KJV, NAB,
NASB, NRSV “taskmasters”; NIV “slave masters”; NLT “slave
 tn Heb “over them”; the referent (the Israelites) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn The verb ֹות ֹ ּנ ַע (’annoto) is the Piel infinitive construct
from ה ָנ ָע (’anah, “to oppress”). The word has a wide range of
meanings. Here it would include physical abuse, forced sub-
jugation, and humiliation. This king was trying to crush the
spirit of Israel by increasing their slave labor. Other terms
in the passage that describe this intent include “bitter” and
 tn The form is a preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive, ן ֶב ִ ּי ַו
(vayyiven). The sequence expressed in this context includes
the idea of result.
 sn Many scholars assume that because this city was
named Rameses, the Pharaoh had to be Rameses II, and
hence that a late date for the exodus (and a late time for the
cities for Pharaoh. 1:1 But the more the Egyp-
tians oppressed them, the more they multiplied
and spread. As a result the Egyptians loathed
the Israelites, 1:13 and they made the Israel-
ites serve rigorously.0 1:14 They made their lives
bitter by hard service with mortar and bricks
and by all kinds of service in the fields. Every
sojourn in Egypt) is proved. But if the details of the context
are taken as seriously as the mention of this name, this can-
not be the case. If one grants for the sake of discussion that
Rameses II was on the throne and oppressing Israel, it is nec-
essary to note thatMoses is not born yet. It would take about
twenty or more years to build the city, then eighty more years
before Moses appears before Pharaoh (Rameses), and then
a couple of years for the plagues – thisman would have been
Pharaoh for over a hundred years. That is clearly not the case
for the historical Rameses II. But even more determining is
the fact that whoever the Pharaoh was for whom the Israel-
ites built the treasure cities, he died before Moses began the
plagues. The Bible says that when Moses grew up and killed
the Egyptian, he fled from Pharaoh (whoever that was) and re-
mained in exile until he heard that that Pharaoh had died. So
this verse cannot be used for a date of the exodus in the days
of Rameses, unless many other details in the chapters are
ignored. If it is argued that Rameses was the Pharaoh of the
oppression, then his successor would have been the Pharaoh
of the exodus. Rameses reigned from 1304 b.c. until 1236
and then was succeeded by Merneptah. That would put the
exodus far too late in time, for the Merneptah stela refers
to Israel as a settled nation in their land. One would have to
say that the name Rameses in this chapter may either refer
to an earlier king, or, more likely, reflect an updating in the
narrative to name the city according to its later name (it was
called something else when they built it, but later Rameses
finished it and named it after himself [see B. Jacob, Exodus,
14]). For further discussion see G. L. Archer, “An 18th Dynasty
Ramses,” JETS 17 (1974): 49-50; and C. F. Aling, “The Biblical
City of Ramses,” JETS 25 (1982): 129-37. Furthermore, for
vv. 11-14, see K. A. Kitchen, “From the Brick Fields of Egypt,”
TynBul 27 (1976): 137-47.
 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Egyptians) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn The imperfect tenses in this verse are customary
uses, expressing continual action in past time (see GKC 315
§107.e). For other examples of ר ֶשׁ ֲא ַ ּכ (ka’asher) with ן ֵ ּכ (ken)
expressing a comparison (“just as…so”) see Gen 41:13; Judg
1:7; Isa 31:4.
sn Nothing in the oppression caused this, of course. Rather,
the blessing of God (Gen 12:1-3) was on Israel in spite of the
efforts of Egypt to hinder it. According to Gen 15 God had fore-
told that there would be this period of oppression (ה ָנ ָע [’anah]
in Gen 15:13). In other words, God had decreed and predict-
ed both their becoming a great nation and the oppression to
show that he could fulfill his promise to Abraham in spite of
the bondage.
 tn Heb “they felt a loathing before/because of”; the refer-
ent (the Egyptians) has been specified in the translation for
 tn Heb “the Egyptians.” For stylistic reasons this has
been replaced by the pronoun “they” in the translation.
0 tn Heb “with rigor, oppression.”
 sn The verb ר ַר ָמ (marar) anticipates the introduction of
the theme of bitterness in the instructions for the Passover.
 tn The preposition bet (ב) in this verse has the instrumen-
tal use: “bymeans of” (see GKC 380 §119.o).
 tn Heb “and in all service.”
exodus 1:9 114
kind of service the Israelites were required to give
was rigorous.
1:15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew
midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah
and the other Puah, 1:16 “When you assist the
Hebrew women in childbirth, observe at the de-
livery: If it is a son, kill him, but if it is a daugh-
ter, she may live.” 1:17 But0 the midwives feared
God and did not do what the king of Egypt had
told them; they let the boys live.
1:18 Then the king of Egypt summoned
the midwives and said to them, “Why have you
 tn The line could bemore literally translated, “All their ser-
vice in which they served them [was] with rigor.” This takes
the referent of ם ֶה ָ ּב (bahem) to be the Egyptians. The pronoun
may also resume the reference to the kinds of service and
so not be needed in English: “All their service in which they
served [was] with rigor.”
 tn Heb “and the king of Egypt said.”
 sn The word for “midwife” is simply the Piel participle of
the verb ד ַל ָי (yalad, “to give birth”). So these were women
who assisted in the childbirth process. It seems probable that
given the number of the Israelites in the passage, these two
women could not have been the only Hebrew midwives, but
theymay have been over themidwives (Rashi).Moreover, the
LXX and Vulgate do not take “Hebrew” as an adjective, but as
a genitive after the construct, yielding “midwives of/over the
Hebrews.” This leaves open the possibility that these women
were not Hebrews. This would solve the question of how the
king ever expected Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew children.
And yet, the two women have Hebrew names.
 tn Heb “who the name of the first [was] Shiphrah, and the
name of the second [was] Puah.”
 tn The verse starts with the verb that began the last verse;
to read it again seems redundant. Some versions render it
“spoke” in v. 15 and “said” in v. 16. In effect, Pharaoh has
been delayed from speaking while themidwives are named.
 tn The form is the Piel infinitive construct serving in an ad-
verbial clause of time. This clause lays the foundation for the
next verb, the Qal perfect with a vav consecutive: “when you
assist…then you will observe.” The latter carries an instruc-
tional nuance (= the imperfect of instruction), “you are to ob-
 tn Heb “at the birthstool” (cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV), but since
this particular item is not especially well known today, the
present translation simply states “at the delivery.” Cf. NIV “de-
livery stool.”
 sn The instructions must have been temporary or selec-
tive, otherwise the decree from the king would have ended
the slave population of Hebrews. It is also possible that the
king did not think through this, but simply took steps to limit
the population growth. The narrative is not interested in sup-
plying details, only in portraying the king as a wicked fool bent
on destroying Israel.
 tn The last form ה ָי ָח ָו (vakhaya) in the verse is unusual;
rather than behaving as a III-He form, it is written as a gemi-
nate but without the daghesh forte in pause (GKC 218 §76.
i). In the conditional clause, following the parallel instruction
(“kill him”), this form should be rendered “she may live” or
“let her live.”
0 tn Heb “and they [fem. pl.] feared”; the referent (themid-
wives) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn The verb is the Piel preterite of ה ָי ָח (khaya, “to live”).
The Piel often indicates a factitive nuance with stative verbs,
showing the cause of the action.Here itmeans “let live, cause
to live.” The verb is the exact opposite of Pharaoh’s command
for them to kill the boys.
 tn The verb א ָר ָק (qara’) followed by the lamed (ל) preposi-
tion has here the nuance of “summon.” The same construc-
tion is used later when Pharaoh summonsMoses.
done this and let the boys live?” 1:19 The mid-
wives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew
women are not like the Egyptian women – for the
Hebrew women are vigorous; they give birth
before the midwife gets to them!” 1:0 So God
treated the midwives well, and the people mul-
tiplied and became very strong. 1:1And because
themidwives feared God, hemade households
for them.
1: Then Pharaoh commanded all his people,
“All sons0 that are born youmust throw into the
river, but all daughters you may let live.”
 tn The second verb in Pharaoh’s speech is a preterite
with a vav (ו) consecutive. It may indicate a simple sequence:
“Why have you done…and (so that you) let live?” It could also
indicate that this is a second question, “Why have you done
…[why] have you let live?”
 sn See furtherN. Lemche, “‘Hebrew’ as aNationalName
for Israel,” ST 33 (1979): 1-23.
 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Hebrew women) has
been specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “before the midwife comes to them (and) they
give birth.” The perfect tense with the vav consecutive serves
as the apodosis to the preceding temporal clause; it has the
frequentative nuance (see GKC 337-38 §112.oo).
sn The point of this brief section is that the midwives re-
spected God above the king. They simply followed a higher
authority that prohibited killing. Fearing God is a basic part of
the true faith that leads to an obedient course of action and
is not terrified by worldly threats. There probably was enough
truth in what they were saying to be believable, but they clear-
ly had no intention of honoring the king by participating in
murder, and they saw no reason to give him a straightforward
answer. God honored their actions.
 tn The verb ב ֶטי ֵ ּי ַו (vayyetev) is the Hiphil preterite of ב ַט ָי
(yatav). In this stem the word means “to cause good, treat
well, treat favorably.” The vav (ו) consecutive shows that this
favor from God was a result of their fearing and obeying him.
 tn The temporal indicator י ִה ְי ַו (vayÿhi) focuses attention
on the causal clause and lays the foundation for the main
clause, namely, “God made households for them.” This is
the second time the text affirms the reason for their defiance,
their fear of God.
 tn Or “families”; Heb “houses.”
0 tn The substantive ל ֹ ּכ (kol) followed by the article stress-
es the entirety – “all sons” or “all daughters” – even though
the nouns are singular in Hebrew (see GKC 411 §127.b).
 tn The form includes a pronominal suffix that reiterates
the object of the verb: “every son…you will throw it.”
 tn The first imperfect has the force of a definite order, but
the second, concerning the girls, could also have the nuance
of permission,whichmay fit better. Pharaoh is simply allowing
the girls to live.
sn Verse 22 forms a fitting climax to the chapter, in which
the king continually seeks to destroy the Israelite strength.
Finally, with this decree, he throws off any subtlety and com-
mands the open extermination of Hebrew males. The verse
forms a transition to the next chapter, in which Moses is
saved by Pharaoh’s own daughter. These chapters show that
the king’s efforts to destroy the strength of Israel – so clearly
a work of God – met with failure again and again. And that
failure involved the efforts of women, whom Pharaoh did not
consider a threat.
115 exodus 1:
The Birth of the Deliverer
:1 A man from the household of Levi mar-
ried a woman who was a descendant of Levi.
: The woman became pregnant and gave birth
to a son. When she saw that he was a healthy
child, she hid him for three months. :3 But when
she was no longer able to hide him, she took a
papyrus basket for him and sealed it with bitu-
men and pitch. She put the child in it and set it
among the reeds along the edge of the Nile.0
 sn The chapter records the exceptional survival of Mo-
ses under the decree of death by Pharaoh (vv. 1-10), the flight
of Moses from Pharaoh after killing the Egyptian (vv. 11-15),
the marriage of Moses (vv. 16-22), and finally a note about
the Lord’s hearing the sighing of the people in bondage (vv.
23-25). The first part is the birth. The Bible has several sto-
ries about miraculous or special births and deliverances of
those destined to lead Israel. Their impact is essentially to au-
thenticate the individual’s ministry. If the person’s beginning
was providentially provided and protected by the Lord, then
the mission must be of divine origin too. In this chapter the
plot works around the decree for the death of the children – a
decree undone by the women. The second part of the chap-
ter recordsMoses’ flight andmarriage. Having introduced the
deliverer Moses in such an auspicious way, the chapter then
records how this deliverer acted presumptuously and had to
flee for his life. Any deliverance God desired had to be super-
natural, as the chapter’s final note about answering prayer
 tn Heb “house.” In other words, the tribe of Levi.
 tn Heb “went and took”; NASB “went andmarried.”
 tn Heb “a daughter of Levi.” The word “daughter” is used
in the sense of “descendant” and connects the new account
with Pharaoh’s command in 1:22. The words “a woman who
was” are added for clarity in English.
sn The first part of this section is the account of hiding the
infant (vv. 1-4). Themarriage, the birth, the hiding of the child,
and the positioning of Miriam, are all faith operations that ig-
nore the decree of Pharaoh or work around it to preserve the
life of the child.
 tn Or “conceived” (KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).
 tn A preterite form with the vav consecutive can be sub-
ordinated to a following clause. What she saw stands as a
reason for what she did: “when she saw…she hid him three
 tn After verbs of perceiving or seeing there are frequently
two objects, the formal accusative (“she saw him”) and then a
noun clause that explains what it was about the child that she
perceived (“that he was healthy”). See GKC 365 §117.h.
 tn Or “fine” (ב ֹוט, tov). The construction is parallel to phras-
es in the creation narrative (“and God saw that it was good,”
Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 17, 21, 25, 31). B. Jacob says, “She looked
upon her child with a joy similar to that of God upon His cre-
ation (Gen 1.4ff.)” (Exodus, 25).
 sn See on the meaning of this basket C. Cohen, “Hebrew
tbh: Proposed Etymologies,” JANESCU 9 (1972): 36-51. This
term is used elsewhere only to refer to the ark of Noah. Itmay
be connected to the Egyptian word for “chest.”
0 sn The circumstances of the saving of the child Moses
have prompted several attempts by scholars to compare the
material to the Sargonmyth. SeeR. F. Johnson, IDB 3:440-50;
for the text see L. W. King, Chronicles concerning Early Baby-
lonian Kings, 2:87-90. Those who see the narrative using the
Sargon story’s pattern would be saying that the account pres-
entsMoses in imagery common to the ancient world’s expec-
tations of extraordinary achievement and deliverance. In the
Sargon story the infant’s mother set him adrift in a basket in
a river; he was loved by the gods and destined for greatness.
Saying Israel used this to invent the account in Exodus would
undermine its reliability. But there are other difficulties with
the Sargon comparison, not the least of which is the fact that
the meaning and function of the Sargon story are unclear.
Second, there is no outside threat to the child Sargon. The
:4His sister stationed herself at a distance to find
out what would happen to him.
washherselfby theNile,whileherattendantswere
walkingalongside theriver,andshesaw thebasket
among the reeds. She sent one of her attendants,
account simply shows how a child was exposed, rescued,
nurtured, and became king (see B. S. Childs, Exodus [OTL],
8-12). Third, other details do not fit: Moses’ father is known,
Sargon’s is not;Moses is never abandoned, since he is never
out of the care of his parents, and the finder is a princess and
not a goddess. Moreover, without knowing the precise func-
tion and meaning of the Sargon story, it is almost impossible
to explain its use as a pattern for the biblical account. By it-
self, the idea of a mother putting a child by the river if she
wants him to be found would have been fairly sensible, for
that is where the women of the town would be washing their
clothes or bathing. If someone wanted to be sure the infant
was discovered by a sympathetic woman, there would be no
better setting (see R. A. Cole, Exodus [TOTC], 57). While there
need not be a special genre of storytelling here, it is possible
that Exodus 2 might have drawn on some of the motifs and
forms of the other account to describe the actual event in the
sparing of Moses – if they knew of it. If so it would show that
Moses was cast in the form of the greats of the past.
 tn Or “stood.” The verb is the Hitpael preterite of ב ַצ ָי (yat-
sav), although the form is anomalous and perhaps should be
spelled as in the Samaritan Pentateuch (see GKC 193 §71).
The form yields themeaning of “take a stand, position or sta-
tion oneself.” His sister found a good vantage point to wait
and see whatmight become of the infant.
 tn Heb “to know”;many English versions have “to see.”
 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; it should be classified
here as a historic future, future from the perspective of a
point in a past time narrative.
 sn It is impossible, perhaps, to identify with certainty
who this person was. For those who have taken a view that
Rameses was the pharaoh, there were numerous daughters
for Rameses. She is named Tharmuth in Jub. 47:5; Josephus
spells it Thermouthis (Ant. 2.9.5 [2.224]), but Eusebius has
Merris (Praep. Ev. ix. 27). E. H.Merrill (Kingdom of Priests, 60)
makes a reasonable case for her identification as the famous
Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I. She would have been
there about the time of Moses’ birth, and the general picture
of her from history shows her to be the kind of princess with
enough courage to countermand a decree of her father.
 tn Or “bathe.”
 sn A disjunctive vav initiates here a circumstantial clause.
The picture is one of a royal entourage coming down to the
edge of a tributary of the river, and while the princess was
bathing, her female attendants were walking along the edge
of the water out of the way of the princess. Theymay not have
witnessed the discovery or the discussion.
 tn The word here is ה ָמ ָא (’amah), which means “female
slave.” The word translated “attendants” earlier in the verse
is ת ֹר ֲע ַנ (na’arot, “young women”), possibly referring here to an
assortment of servants and companions.
 tn The verb is preterite, third person feminine singular,
with a pronominal suffix, from ח ַק ָל (laqakh, “to take”). The
form says literally “and she took it,” and retains the princess
as the subject of the verb.
 tn Heb “and she opened.”
0 tn The grammatical construction has a pronominal suffix
on the verb as the direct object along with the expressed ob-
ject: “and she saw him, the child.” The second object defines
the previous pronominal object to avoid misunderstanding
(see GKC 425 §131.m).
 tn The text has ר ַע ַנ (na’ar, “lad, boy, young man”), which
in this context wouldmean a baby boy.
exodus :1 116
crying! – and she felt compassion for him and
said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
:7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daugh-
ter, “Shall I go and get a nursing woman for
you from the Hebrews, so that she may nurse
the child for you?” :8 Pharaoh’s daughter said
to her, “Yes, do so.” So the young girl went
and got the child’s mother. :9 Pharaoh’s
 tn This clause is introduced with a disjunctive vav and the
deictic particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh, “behold” in the KJV). The parti-
cle in this kind of clause introduces the unexpected – what
Pharaoh’s daughter saw when she opened the basket: “and
look, there was a baby boy crying.” The clause provides a
parenthetical description of the child as she saw him when
she opened the basket and does not advance the narrative.
It is an important addition, however, for it puts readers in the
position of looking with her into the basket and explains her
 tn The verb could be given a more colloquial translation
such as “she felt sorry for him.” But the verb is stronger than
that; it means “to have compassion, to pity, to spare.” What
she felt for the baby was strong enough to prompt her to
spare the child from the fate decreed for Hebrew boys. Here
is part of the irony of the passage: What was perceived by
many to be a womanly weakness – compassion for a baby
– is a strong enough emotion to prompt the woman to defy
the orders of Pharaoh. The ruler had thought sparing women
was safe, but themidwives, the Hebrewmother, the daughter
of Pharaoh, and Miriam, all work together to spare one child
–Moses (cf. 1 Cor 1:27-29).
 sn The text uses א ָר ָק (qara’), meaning “to call” or “sum-
mon.” Pharaoh himself will “summon” Moses many times in
the plague narratives. Here the word is used for the daughter
summoning the child’s mother to take care of him. The nar-
ratives in the first part of the book of Exodus include a good
deal of foreshadowing of events that occur in later sections of
the book (seeM. Fishbane, Biblical Text and Texture).
 tn The object of the verb “get/summon” is “awoman.” But
ת ֶק ֶני ֵמ (meneqet, “nursing”), the Hiphil participle of the verb ק ַנ ָי
(yanaq, “to suck”), is in apposition to it, clarifying what kind of
woman should be found – a woman, a nursing one. Of course
Moses’mother was ready for the task.
 tn The form ק ִני ֵת ְו (vÿteniq) is the Hiphil imperfect/jussive,
third feminine singular, of the same root as theword for “nurs-
ing.” It is here subordinated to the preceding imperfect (“shall
I go”) and perfect with vav (ו) consecutive (“and summon”) to
express the purpose: “in order that shemay.”
sn No respectable Egyptian woman of this period would
have undertaken the task of nursing a foreigner’s baby, and
so the suggestion byMiriam was proper and necessary. Since
she was standing a small distance away from the events, she
was able to come forward when the discovery wasmade.
 tn Heb “Go” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “Go ahead”; TEV “Please
 sn The word used to describe the sister (Miriam probably)
is ה ָמ ְל ַע (’alma), the same word used in Isa 7:14, where it is
usually translated either “virgin” or “young woman.” The word
basicallymeans a youngwomanwho is ripe formarriage. This
would indicate thatMiriam is a teenager and so about fifteen
years older thanMoses.
 tn Heb א ָר ָק (qara’, “called”).
 sn During this period of Egyptian history the royal palaces
were in the northern or Delta area of Egypt, rather than up the
Nile as in later periods. The proximity of the royal residences
to the Israelites makes this and the plague narratives all the
more realistic. Such direct contact would have been unlikely if
Moses had had to travel up the Nile to meet with Pharaoh. In
the Delta area things were closer. Here all the people would
have had access to the tributaries of the Nile near where the
royal family came, but the royal family probably had pavilions
and hunting lodges in the area. See also N. Osborn, “Where
on Earth Are We? Problems of Position and Movement in
Space,” BT 31 (1980): 239-42.
daughter said to her, “Take this child0 and nurse
him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the
woman took the child and nursed him.
:10When the child grew older she brought
him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her
son. She named him Moses, saying, “Because I
drew him from the water.”
0 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperative of the verb ְך ַל ָה (hal-
akh), and so is properly rendered “cause to go” or “take away.”
 tn The possessive pronoun on the noun “wage” express-
es the indirect object: “I will pay wages to you.”
 tn The verb is the preterite of ל ַד ָ ּג (gadal), and so might
be rendered “and he became great.” But the context sug-
gests that it refers to when he was weaned and before he
was named, perhaps indicating he was three or four years old
(see Gen 21:8).
 tn The idiomatic expression literally reads: “and he was
to her for a son.” In this there are two prepositions lamed. The
first expresses possession: “he was to her”means “she had.”
The second is part of the usage of the verb: ה ָי ָה (haya)with the
lamed (ל) prepositionmeans “to become.”
 sn The naming provides the climax and summary of the
story. The name of “Moses” (ה ֶשׁ ֹמ, mosheh) is explained by
“I have drawn him ( ּוה ִתי ִשׁ ְמ, mÿshitihu) from the water.” It ap-
pears that the name is etymologically connected to the verb
in the saying, which is from ה ָשׁ ָמ (mashah, “to draw out”). But
commentators have found it a little difficult that the explana-
tion of the name by the daughter of Pharaoh is in Hebrew
when the whole background is Egyptian (U. Cassuto, Exodus,
20).Moreover, the Hebrew spelling of the name is the form of
the active participle (“the one who draws out”); to be a pre-
cise description it should have been spelled י ּושׁ ָמ (mashuy),
the passive participle (“the one drawn out”). The etymology
is not precise; rather, it is a wordplay (called paronomasia).
Either the narrator merely attributed words to her (which is
unlikely outside of fiction), or the Hebrew account simply
translated what she had said into Hebrew, finding a Hebrew
verb with the same sounds as the name. Such wordplays on
names (also popular etymology) are common in the Bible.
Most agree that the name is an Egyptian name. Josephus
attempted to connect the biblical etymology with the name
in Greek, Mouses, stating that Mo is Egyptian for water, and
uses means those rescued from it (Ant. 2.9.6 [2.228]; see
also J. Gwyn Griffiths, “The Egyptian Derivation of the Name
Moses,” JNES 12 [1953]: 225). But the solution to the name
is not to be derived from the Greek rendering. Due to the es-
timation Egyptians had of the Nile, the princess would have
thought of the child from the river as a supernatural provi-
sion. The Egyptian hieroglyphicms can be the noun “child” or
the perfective verb “be born.” This was often connected with
divine elements for names: Ptah-mose, “Ptah is born.” Also
the name Rameses (R’-m-sw)means “[the god] Re’ is he who
has born him.” If the nameMoses is Egyptian, there are some
philological difficulties (see the above article for their treat-
ment). The significance of all this is that when the child was
named by the princess, an Egyptian word related to ms was
used, meaning something like “child” or “born.” The name
might have even been longer, perhaps having a theophoric
element (divine name) with it – “child of [some god].” The
name’s motivation came from the fact that she drew him
from the Nile, the source of life in Egypt. But the sound of
the name recalled for the Hebrews the verb “to draw out” in
their own language. Translating the words of the princess into
Hebrew allowed for the effective wordplay to capture the sig-
nificance of the story in the sound of the name. The implica-
tion for the Israelites is something to this effect: “You called
him ‘born one’ in your language and after your custom, but in
our language that namemeans ‘drawing out’ – which is what
was to become of him. You drew him out of the water, but he
would draw us out of Egypt through the water.” So the circum-
stances of the story show Moses to be a man of destiny, and
this naming episode summarizes how divine providence was
at work in Israel. To the Israelites the name forever commem-
orated the portent of this event in the early life of the great
deliverer (see Isa 63:11).
117 exodus :10
The Presumption of the Deliverer
:11 In those days, when Moses had
grown up, he went out to his people and ob-
served their hard labor, and he saw an Egyp-
tian man attacking a Hebrew man, one of his
own people. :1 He looked this way and that
and saw that no one was there, and then he at-
tacked0 the Egyptian and concealed the body
 sn Chapter 1 described how Israel was flourishing in spite
of the bondage. Chapter 2 first told how God providentially
provided the deliverer, but now when this deliverer attempted
to deliver one of his people, it turned out badly, and he had to
flee for his life. This section makes an interesting study in the
presumption of the leader, what Christian expositors would
rightly describe as trying to do God’s work by the flesh. The
section has two parts to it: the flight from Egypt over the failed
attempt to deliver (vv. 11-15), and Moses’ introduction to life
as the deliverer inMidian (vv. 16-22).
 sn The expression “those days” refers to the days of bond-
 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is here subor-
dinated to the next andmain idea of the verse. This is the sec-
ond use of this verb in the chapter. In v. 10 the verb had the
sense of “when he began to grow” or “when he got older,” but
here it carries the nuance of “when he had grown up.”
 tn Heb “brothers.” This term does not require them to be
literal siblings, or even close family members. It simply refers
to fellowHebrews, peoplewithwhomMoses has begun to feel
close ties of kinship. They are “brothers” in a broad sense, ul-
timately fellowmembers of the covenant community.
 tn The verb ה ָא ָר (ra’a, “to see”) followed by the preposition
bet (ב) can indicate looking on something as an overseer, or
supervising, or investigating. Here the emphasis is onMoses’
observing their labor with sympathy or grief. It means more
than that he simply saw the way his fellow Hebrews were be-
ing treated (cf. 2:25).
sn This journey of Moses to see his people is an indication
that he had become aware of his destiny to deliver them. This
verse says that he looked on their oppression; the next sec-
tion will say that the Lord looked on it.
 tn The verb ה ֶ ּכ ַמ (makkeh) is theHiphil participle of the root
ה ָכ ָנ (nakha). It may be translated “strike, smite, beat, attack.”
It can be used with the sense of killing (as in the next verse,
which says Moses hid the body), but it does not necessarily
indicate here that the Egyptian killed the Hebrew.
 tn Heb “brothers.” This kinship term is used as a means
of indicating the nature of Moses’ personal concern over the
incident, since the appositional clause adds no new informa-
 tn The text literally says, “and he turned thus and thus” (ן ֶפ ִ ּי ַו
ה ֹכ ָו ה ֹ ּכ, vayyifen koh vakhoh). Itmay indicate that he turned his
gaze in all directions to ascertain that no one would observe
what he did. Or, as B. Jacob argues, it may mean that he saw
that there was no one to do justice and so he did it himself
(Exodus, 37-38, citing Isa 59:15-16).
 tn Heb “he saw that there was noman.”
0 sn The verb ְך ַ ּי ַו (vayyakh) is from the root ה ָכ ָנ (nakhah, “to
smite, attack”) which is used in v. 11. This new attack is fatal.
The repetition of the verb, especially in Exodus, anticipates
the idea of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” The problem is, how-
ever, that Moses was not authorized to take this matter into
his own hands in this way. The question the next day was ap-
propriate: “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” The
answer? No one – yet.
 tn Heb “him”; for stylistic reasons the referent has been
specified as “the body.”
in the sand. :13When hewent out the next day,
there were two Hebrew men fighting. So he said
to the one who was in the wrong, “Why are you
attacking your fellow Hebrew?”
:14 The man replied, “Who made you
a ruler and a judge over us? Are you plan-
ning0 to kill me like you killed that Egyp-
tian?” Then Moses was afraid, thinking, “Sure-
ly what I did has become known.” :15 When
Pharaoh heard about this event, he sought to
kill Moses. So Moses fled from Pharaoh and
 tn The preterite with the vav consecutive is subordinated
to themain idea of the verse.
 tn Heb “the second day” (so KJV, ASV).
 tn The deictic particle is used here to predicate exis-
tence, as in “here were” or “there were.” But this use of ה ֵ ּנ ִה
(hinneh) indicates also thatwhat he encounteredwas surpris-
ing or sudden – as in “Oh, look!”
 tn The word ע ָשׁ ָר (rasha’) is a legal term, meaning the
guilty. This guilty man rejects Moses’ intervention for much
the same reason Pharaoh will later (5:2) – he does not recog-
nize his authority. Later Pharaoh will use this term to declare
himself as in the wrong (9:27) and God in the right.
 tn This is the third use of the verb ה ָכ ָנ (nakha) in the pas-
sage; here it is the Hiphil imperfect. Itmay be given a progres-
sive imperfect nuance – the attackwas going onwhenMoses
tried to intervene.
 sn Heb “your neighbor.” The word ָך ֶע ֵר (re’ekha) appears
again in 33:11 to describe the ease with which God and Mo-
ses conversed. The Law will have much to say about how the
Israelites were to treat their “neighbors, fellow citizens” (Exod
20:16-17; 21:14, 18, 35; 22:7-11, 14, 26; cf. Luke 10:25-
 tn Heb “And he”; the referent (the man) has been speci-
fied in the translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “Who placed you for a man, a ruler and a judge
over us?” The pleonasm does not need to be translated. For
similar constructions see Lev 21:9; Judg 6:8; 2 Sam 1:13;
Esth 7:6.
0 tn The line reads “[is it] to killme you are planning?” The
form ר ֵמ ֹא (’omer) is the active participle used verbally; it would
literally be “[are you] saying,” but in this context it conveys the
meaning of “thinking, planning.” The Qal infinitive then serves
as the object of this verbal form – are you planning to killme?
 tn Heb “the Egyptian.” Here the Hebrew article functions
in an anaphoric sense, referring back to the individualMoses
 tn The verb form is “and he said.” But the intent of the
form is that he said this within himself, and so it means “he
thought, realized, said to himself.” The form, having the vav
consecutive, is subordinated to the main idea of the verse,
that he was afraid.
 tn The term ר ָב ָ ּד ַה (haddavar, “the word [thing, matter,
incident]”) functions here like a pronoun to refer in brief to
what Moses had done. For clarity this has been specified in
the translation with the phrase “what I did.”
 tn The form with the vav consecutive is here subordinat-
ed to themain idea that Pharaoh sought to punishMoses.
 tn Heb ר ָב ָ ּד ַה (haddavar, “the word [thing, matter, inci-
dent]”) functions here like a pronoun to refer in brief to what
Moses had done.
 tn The vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite shows result
– as a result of Pharaoh’s search for him, he fled.
exodus :11 118
settled in the land of Midian, and he settled by a
certain well.
:16 Now a priest ofMidian had seven daugh-
ters, and they came and began to draw water
and fill the troughs in order to water their fa-
ther’s flock. :17 When some shepherds came
and drove them away, Moses came up and de-
fended them and then watered their flock.
:18 So when they came home0 to their father
Reuel, he asked, “Why have you come home
so early today?” :19 They said, “An Egyptian
 sn The location of Midyan or Midian is uncertain, but it
had to have been beyond the Egyptian borders on the east,
either in the Sinai or beyond in the Arabah (south of the Dead
Sea) or even on the east side of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Midi-
anites seem to have traveled extensively in the desert re-
gions. R. A. Cole (Exodus [TOTC], 60) reasons that since they
later were enemies of Israel, it is unlikely that these traditions
would have been made up about Israel’s great lawgiver; fur-
ther, he explains that “Ishmaelite” and “Kenite” might have
been clan names within the region ofMidian. But see, from a
different point of view, G. W. Coats, “Moses and Midian,” JBL
92 (1973): 3-10.
 tn The verb reads “and he sat” or “and he lived.” To trans-
late it “he sat by a well” would seem anticlimactic and uncon-
nected. It probably has the same sense as in the last clause,
namely, that he lived inMidian, and he lived near awell,which
detail prepares for what follows.
 tn The word has the definite article, “the well.” Gesenius
lists this use of the article as that which denotes a thing that
is yet unknown to the reader but present in the mind under
the circumstances (GKC 407-8 §126.q-r).Where there was a
well, people would settle, and as R. A. Cole says it, for people
who settled there it was “the well” (Exodus [TOTC], 60).
 tn The preterites describing their actions must be taken
in an ingressive sense, since they did not actually complete
the job. Shepherds drove them away, andMoses watered the
 tn The object “water” is not in the Hebrew text, but is im-
 tn This also has the ingressive sense, “began to fill,” but
for stylistic reasons is translated simply “fill” here.
 tn The definite article here is the generic use; it simply re-
fers to a group of shepherds.
 tn The actions of the shepherds are subordinated to the
main statement about whatMoses did.
sn The verb is ם ּושׁ ְר ָג ְי ַו (vaygorshum). Some shepherds came
and drove the daughters away. The choice of this verb in the
narrative has a tie with the name of Moses’ first son, Ger-
shom. Moses senses very clearly that he is a sojourner in a
strange land – he has been driven away.
 sn The verb used here is ן ָע ִשׁ ֹו ּי ַו (vayyoshi’an, “and he saved
them”). The word means that he came to their rescue and
delivered them. By the choice of words the narrator is portray-
ingMoses as the deliverer – he is just not yet ready to deliver
Israel from its oppressors.
0 tn The verb means “to go, to come, to enter.” In this
context it means that they returned to their father, or came
 sn The name “Reuel” is given here. In other places (e.g.,
chap. 18) he is called Jethro (cf. CEV, which uses “Jethro”
here). Some suggest that this is simply a confusion of tradi-
tions. But it is not uncommon for ancients, like Sabean kings
and priests, to have more than one name. Several of the
kings of Israel, including Solomon, did. “Reuel”means “friend
of God.”
 tn The sentence uses a verbal hendiadys construction:
א ֹ ּב ן ֶ ּת ְר ַה ִמ (miharten bo’, “you have made quick [to] come”).
The finite verb functions as if it were an adverb modifying the
infinitive, which becomes themain verb of the clause.
sn Two observations should be made at this point. First, it
seems that the oppression at the well was a regular part of
their routine because their father was surprised at their early
man rescued us from the shepherds, and he ac-
tually drew water for us and watered the flock!”
:0 He said to his daughters, “So where is he?
Why in the world did you leave the man? Call
him, so that he may eat a meal0 with us.”
:1 Moses agreed to stay with the man,
and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in
marriage. : When she bore a son, Moses
named him Gershom, for he said, “I have become
a resident foreigner in a foreign land.”
return, and their answer alluded to the shepherds rather au-
tomatically. Secondly, the story is anothermeeting-at-the-well
account. Continuity with the patriarchs is thereby kept in the
mind of the reader (cf. Gen 24; 29:1-12).
 sn Continuing the theme of Moses as the deliverer, the
text now uses another word for salvation (ל ַצ ָנ, natsal, “to de-
liver, rescue”) in the sense of plucking out or away, snatching
out of danger.
 tn Heb “from the hand of the shepherds” (so NASB); NAB
“saved us from the interference of the shepherds.” Most re-
cent English versions translate simply “from the shepherds.”
 tn The construction is emphatic with the use of the per-
fect tense and its infinitive absolute: ה ֹל ָ ּד ה ָל ָד (daloh dalah). B.
Jacob says, “They showed their enthusiasm through the use
of the infinitive absolute – And think of that, he even drew wa-
ter for us; aman did this for us girls” (Exodus, 41).
 tn Heb “And he said.”
 tn The conjunction vav (ו) joins Reuel’s question to what
the daughters said as logically following with the idea, “If he
has done all that you say, why is he not here forme tomeet?”
(see GKC 485 §154.b).
 tn This uses the demonstrative pronoun as an enclitic,
for emphasis (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118). The
question reads more literally, “Why [is] this [that] you left
 tn The imperfect tense coming after the imperative indi-
cates purpose.
0 tn Heb “bread,” i.e., “food.”
 tn Or “andMoses was willing” to stay with Reuel. The Tal-
mud understood this to mean that he swore, and so when it
came time to leave he had to have a word from God and per-
mission from his father-in-law (Exod 4:18-19).
 tn The words “in marriage” are implied, and have been
supplied in the translation for clarity.
 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is subordi-
nated to the next clause, which reports the naming and its
 tn Heb “and he called”; the referent (Moses) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn Like the naming of Moses, this naming that incorpo-
rates a phonetic wordplay forms the commemorative sum-
mary of the account just provided. Moses seems to have
settled into a domestic life with his new wife and his father-
in-law. But when the first son is born, he named him ם ֹשׁ ְר ֵ ּג
(gerÿshom). There is little information available about what
the name by itself might havemeant. If it is linked to the verb
“drive away” used earlier (שׁ ַר ָג, garash), then the finalmem (מ)
would have to be explained as an encliticmem. It seemsmost
likely that that verb was used in the narrative to make a sec-
ondary wordplay on the name. The primary explanation is the
popular etymology supplied by Moses himself. He links the
name to the verb ר ּו ּג (gur, “to sojourn, to live as an alien”). He
then adds that he was a sojourner (ר ֵ ּג, ger, the participle) in
a foreign land. The word “foreign” (ה ּי ִר ְכ ָנ, nokhriyyah) adds to
the idea of his being a resident foreigner. The final syllable in
the name would then be connected to the adverb “there” (ם ָשׁ ,
sham). Thus, the name is given the significance in the story of
“sojourner there” or “alien there.” He no doubt knew that this
was not the actualmeaning of the name; the name itself had
already been introduced into the family of Levi (1 Chr 6:1, 16).
He chose the name because its sounds reflected his senti-
ment at that time. But to what was Moses referring? In view
of naming customs among the Semites, he was most likely
119 exodus :
The Call of the Deliverer
:3 During that long period of time the
king of Egypt died, and the Israelites groaned
because of the slave labor. They cried out, and
their desperate cry because of their slave labor
went up to God. :4 God heard their groaning,
God remembered his covenant with Abraham,
referring to Midian as the foreign land. If Egypt had been the
strange land, and he had now found his place, he would not
have given the lad such a name. Personal names reflect the
present or recent experiences, or the hope for the future. So
this naming is a clear expression by Moses that he knows he
is not where he is supposed to be. That this is what hemeant
is supported in the NT by Stephen (Acts 7:29). So the choice
of the name, the explanation of it, and the wordplay before it,
all serve to stress the point thatMoses had been driven away
from his proper place of service.
 sn The next section of the book is often referred to as
the “Call of Moses,” and that is certainly true. But it is much
more than that. It is the divine preparation of the servant of
God, a servant who already knew what his destiny was. In
this section Moses is shown how his destiny will be accom-
plished. It will be accomplished because the divine presence
will guarantee the power, and the promise of that presence
comes with the important “I AM” revelation. The message
that comes through in this, and other “I will be with you” pas-
sages, is thatwhen the promise of God’s presence is correctly
appropriated by faith, the servant of God can begin to build
confidence for the task that lies ahead. It will no longer be,
“Who am I that I should go?” but “I AM with you” thatmatters.
The first little section, 2:23-25, serves as a transition and in-
troduction, for it records the Lord’s response to Israel in her
affliction. The second part is the revelation to Moses at the
burning bush (3:1-10), which is one of the most significant
theological sections in the Torah. Finally, the record ofMoses’
response to the call with his objections (3:11-22), makes up
the third part, and in a way, is a transition to the next section,
where God supplies proof of his power.
 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator “And it
was” (cf. KJV, ASV “And it came to pass”). This has been left
untranslated for stylistic reasons.
 tn Heb “in thosemany days.”
 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”
 tn “They cried out” is from ק ַע ָז (za’aq), and “desperate cry”
is from ה ָע ְו ַשׁ (shava’h).
 sn The word for this painfully intense “groaning” appears
elsewhere to describe a response to having two broken arms
(Ezek 30:24).
 sn The two verbs “heard” and “remembered,” both preter-
ites, say farmore than they seem to say. The verb ע ַמ ָשׁ (shama’,
“to hear”) ordinarily includes responding to what is heard. It
can even be found in idiomatic constructions meaning “to
obey.” To say God heard their complaint means that God re-
sponded to it. Likewise, the verb ר ַכ ָז (zakhar, “to remember”)
means to begin to act on the basis of what is remembered. A
prayer to God that says, “Remember me,” is asking for more
than mere recollection (see B. S. Childs, Memory and Tradi-
tion in Israel [SBT], 1-8). The structure of this section at the
end of the chapter is powerful. There are four descriptions of
the Israelites, with a fourfold reaction from God. On the Isra-
elites’ side, they groaned (ח ַנ ָא [’anakh], ה ָק ָא ְנ [nÿ’aqah]) and
cried out (ק ַע ָז [za’aq], ה ָע ְו ַשׁ [shav’ah]) to God. On the divine side
God heard (ע ָמ ָשׁ , shama’) their groaning, remembered (ר ַכ ָז,
zakhar) his covenant, looked (ה ָא ָר, ra’ah) at the Israelites, and
took notice (ע ַד ָי, yada’) of them. These verbs emphasize God’s
sympathy and compassion for the people. God is near to
those in need; in fact, the deliverer had already been chosen.
It is important to note at this point the repetition of the word
“God.” The text is waiting to introduce the name “Yahweh” in
a special way. Meanwhile, the fourfold repetition of “God” in
vv. 24-25 is unusual and draws attention to the statements
about his attention to Israel’s plight.
with Isaac, and with Jacob, :5God saw the Isra-
elites, and God understood….
3:1 Now Moses0 was shepherding the flock
of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Mid-
ian, and he led the flock to the far side of the
desert and came to the mountain of God, to
Horeb. 3:The angel of the Lord appeared to
him in a flame of fire from within a bush. He
looked – and the bush was ablaze with fire,
but it was not being consumed! 3:3 So Moses
 tn Heb “and God saw.”
 tn Heb “and God knew” (ע ַד ָי, yada’). The last clause con-
tains a widely used verb for knowing, but it leaves the ob-
ject unexpressed within the clause, so as to allow all that vv.
23-24 have described to serve as the compelling content of
God’s knowing. (Manymodern English versions supply an ob-
ject for the verb following the LXX, which reads “knew them.”)
The idea seems to be that God took personal knowledge of,
noticed, or regarded them. In other passages the verb “know”
is similar in meaning to “save” or “show pity.” See especially
Gen 18:21, Ps 1:6; 31:7, and Amos 3:2. Exodus has already
provided an example of the results of not knowing in 1:8 (cf.
0 sn The vav (ו) disjunctive with the name “Moses” intro-
duces a new and important starting point. The Lord’s dealing
withMoses will fill the next two chapters.
 tn Or “west of the desert,” taking ר ַח ַא (’akhar, “behind”)
as the opposite of י ֵנ ְ ּפ־ל ַע (’al-pÿne, “on the face of, east of”; cf.
Gen 16:12; 25:18).
 sn “Horeb” is another name for Mount Sinai. There
is a good deal of foreshadowing in this verse, for later Mo-
ses would shepherd the people of Israel and lead them to
Mount Sinai to receive the Law. See D. Skinner, “Some Ma-
jor Themes of Exodus,” Mid-America Theological Journal 1
(1977): 31-42.
 sn The designation “the angel of the Lord” (Heb “the an-
gel of Yahweh”) occurred in Genesis already (16:7-13; 21:17;
22:11-18). There is some ambiguity in the expression, but it
seems often to be interchangeable with God’s name itself, in-
dicating that it refers to the Lord.
 tn The verb א ָר ֵ ּי ַו (vayyera’) is the Niphal preterite of the
verb “to see.” For similar examples of ה ָא ָר (ra’ah) in Niphal
where the subject “appears,” that is, allows himself to be
seen, or presents himself, see Gen 12:7; 35:9; 46:29; Exod
6:3; and 23:17. B. Jacob notes that God appears in this way
only to individuals and never tomasses of people; it is his glo-
ry that appears to themasses (Exodus, 49).
 tn Gesenius rightly classifies this as a bet (ב) essentiae
(GKC 379 §119.i); it would then indicate that Yahweh ap-
peared toMoses “as a flame.”
 sn Fire frequently accompanies the revelation of Yahweh
in Exodus as he delivers Israel, guides her, and purifies her.
The description here is unique, calling attention to the mani-
festation as a flame of fire from within the bush. Philo was
the first to interpret the bush as Israel, suffering under the
persecution of Egypt but never consumed. The Bible leaves
the interpretation open. However, in this revelation the fire is
coming from within the bush, not from outside, and it repre-
sents the Lord who will deliver his people from persecution.
See further E. Levine, “The Evolving Symbolism of the Burn-
ing Bush,” Dor le Dor 8 (1979): 185-93.
 tn Heb “And he saw.”
 tn The text again uses the deictic particle with vav, ה ֵ ּנ ִה ְו
(vÿhinneh), traditionally rendered “and behold.” The particle
goes with the intense gaze, the outstretched arm, the raised
eyebrow – excitement and intense interest: “look, over there.”
It draws the reader into the immediate experience of the sub-
 tn The construction uses the suffixed negative ּו ּנ ֶני ֵא (’en-
ennu) to convey the subject of the passive verb: “It was not”
consumed. This was the amazing thing, for nothing would
burn faster in the desert than a thornbush on fire.
exodus :3 10
thought, “I will turn aside to see this amazing
sight.Why does the bush not burn up?” 3:4When
the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look,
God called to him from within the bush and said,
“Moses,Moses!”AndMoses said, “Here I am.”
3:5God said, “Do not approach any closer!0Take
your sandals off your feet, for the place where you
are standing is holy ground.” 3:6 He added, “I
am the God of your father, the God ofAbraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then
Moses hid his face, because hewas afraid to look
 tn Heb “And Moses said.” The implication is that Moses
said this to himself.
 tn The construction uses the cohortative א ָ ּנ־ה ָר ֻס ָא (’asura-
nna’) followed by an imperfect with vav (ה ֶא ְר ֶא ְו, vÿ’er’eh) to
express the purpose or result (logical sequence): “I will turn
aside in order that Imay see.”
 tn Heb “great.” The word means something extraordinary
here. In using this term Moses revealed his reaction to the
strange sight and his anticipation that something special was
about to happen. So he turned away from the flock to inves-
 tn The verb is an imperfect. Here it has the progressive
nuance – the bush is not burning up.
 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) is subordinated as a tem-
poral clause to the main point of the verse, that God called
to him. The language is anthropomorphic, as if God’s actions
were based on his observing whatMoses did.
 tn The particle י ִ ּכ (ki, “that”) introduces the noun clause
that functions as the direct object of the verb “saw” (R. J. Wil-
liams, Hebrew Syntax, 81, §490).
 sn The repetition of the name in God’s call is emphatic,
making the appeal direct and immediate (see also Gen
22:11; 46:2). The use of the personal name shows how spe-
cifically God directed the call and that he knew this person.
The repetition may have stressed even more that it was in-
deed he whom the Lord wanted. It would have been an en-
couragement toMoses that this was in fact the Lord who was
meeting him.
 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been spec-
ified in the translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “And he”; the referent (God) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
0 sn Even though the Lord was drawing near toMoses,Mo-
ses could not casually approach him. There still was a barrier
between God and human, and God had to remind Moses of
this with instructions. The removal of sandals was, and still
is in the East, a sign of humility and reverence in the pres-
ence of the Holy One. It was a way of excluding the dust and
dirt of the world. But it also took away personal comfort and
convenience and brought the person more closely in contact
with the earth.
 sn The word שׁ ֶד ֹק (qodesh, “holy”) indicates “set apart,
distinct, unique.” What made a mountain or other place holy
was the fact that God chose that place to reveal himself or to
reside among his people. Because God was in this place, the
ground was different – it was holy.
 tn The causal clause includes within it a typical relative
clause, which is made up of the relative pronoun, then the
independent personal pronoun with the participle, and then
the preposition with the resumptive pronoun. It would literally
be “which you are standing on it,” but the relative pronoun
and the resumptive pronoun are combined and rendered,
“on which you are standing.”
 sn This self-revelation by Yahweh prepares for the revela-
tion of the holy name. While no verb is used here, the pro-
noun and the predicate nominative are a construction used
throughout scripture to convey the “I am” disclosures – “I [am]
the God of….” But the significant point here is the naming of
the patriarchs, for this God is the covenant God, who will fulfill
his promises.
 tn The clause uses the Hiphil infinitive construct with a
preposition after the perfect tense: טי ִ ּב ַה ֵמ א ֵר ָי (yare’ mehabbit,
at God.
3:7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen the
affliction of my people who are in Egypt. I have
heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I
know their sorrows. 3:8 I have come down to
deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians
and to bring them up from that land to a land
that is both good and spacious, to a land flow-
ing with milk and honey,0 to the region of the
Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hiv-
ites, and Jebusites. 3:9 And now indeed the
cry of the Israelites has come to me, and I
have also seen how severely the Egyptians op-
press them. 3:10 So now go, and I will send
“hewas afraid from gazing”)meaning “hewas afraid to gaze.”
The preposition min (ן ִמ) is used before infinitives after verbs
like the one to complete the verb (see BDB 583 s.v. 7b).
 tn The use of the infinitive absolute with the perfect
tense intensifies the statement: I have surely seen – there is
no doubt that I have seen and will do something about it.
 sn Two new words are introduced now to the report of
suffering: “affliction” and “pain/suffering.” These add to the
dimension of the oppression of God’s people.
 sn God’s coming down is a frequent anthropomorphism
in Genesis and Exodus. It expresses his direct involvement,
often in the exercise of judgment.
 tn The Hiphil infinitive with the suffix is ֹולי ִ ּצ ַה ְל (lÿhatsilo,
“to deliver them”). It expresses the purpose of God’s coming
down. The verb itself is used for delivering or rescuing in the
general sense, and snatching out of danger for the specific.
 tn Heb “to a land good and large”; NRSV “to a good and
broad land.” In the translation the words “that is both” are
supplied because in contemporary English “good and” com-
bined with any additional descriptive term can be understood
as elative (“good and large” = “very large”; “good and spa-
cious” = “very spacious”; “good and ready” = “very ready”).
The point made in the Hebrew text is that the land to which
they are going is both good (in terms of quality) and large (in
terms of size).
0 tn This vibrant description of the promised land is a fa-
miliar one. Gesenius classifies “milk and honey” as epexeget-
ical genitives because they provide more precise description
following a verbal adjective in the construct state (GKC 418-
19 §128.x). The land ismodified by “flowing,” and “flowing” is
explained by the genitives “milk and honey.” These two prod-
ucts will be in abundance in the land, and they therefore ex-
emplify what a desirable land it is. The language is hyperbolic,
as if the land were streaming with these products.
 tn Each people group is joined to the preceding by the
vav conjunction, “and.” Each also has the definite article, as
in other similar lists (3:17; 13:5; 34:11). To repeat the con-
junction and article in the translation seems to put more
weight on the list in English than is necessary to its function in
identifying what land God was giving the Israelites.
 tn The particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) focuses attention on what is
being said as grounds for what follows.
 tn The word is a technical term for the outcry one might
make to a judge. God had seen the oppression and so knew
that the complaints were accurate, and so he initiated the
proceedings against the oppressors (B. Jacob, Exodus, 59).
 tn Heb “seen the oppression with which the Egyptians
oppress them.” The word for the oppression is now ץ ַח ַל
(lakhats), which has the idea of pressure with the oppres-
sion – squeezing, pressuring – which led to its later use in the
Semitic languages for torture. The repetition in the Hebrew
text of the root in the participle form after this noun serves to
stress the idea. This emphasis has been represented in the
translation by the expression “seen how severely the Egyp-
tians oppress them.”
11 exodus 3:10
you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites,
out of Egypt.”
3:11 Moses said to God, “Who am I,
that I should go to Pharaoh, or that I should
bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 3:1 He re-
plied, “Surely I will be with you, and this
will be the sign to you that I have sent you:
When you bring the people out of Egypt, you
and they will serve God on this mountain.”
 tn The verse has a sequence of volitives. The first form is
the imperative ה ָכ ְל (lÿkha, “go”). Then comes the cohortative/
imperfect form with the vav (ו), “and I will send you” or more
likely “that I may send you” ( ָך ֲח ָל ְשׁ ֶא ְו, vÿ’eshlakhakha), which
is followed by the imperative with the vav, “and bring out” or
“that youmay bring out” (א ֵצ ֹוה ְו, vÿhotse’). The series of actions
begins with Moses going. When he goes, it will be the Lord
who sends him, and if the Lord sends him, it will be with the
purpose of leading Israel out of Egypt.
sn These instructions for Moses are based on the preced-
ing revelation made to him. The deliverance of Israel was to
be God’s work – hence, “I will send you.” When God commis-
sioned people, often using the verb “to send,” it indicated that
they went with his backing, his power, and his authority. Mo-
ses could not have brought Israel out without this. To name
this incident a commissioning, then,means that the authority
came from God to do the work (compare John 3:2).
 tn Heb “AndMoses said.”
 snWhen hewas younger,Moseswas confident and impul-
sive, but now that he is older the greatness of the taskmakes
him unsure. The remainder of this chapter and the next chap-
ter record the four difficulties of Moses and how the Lord an-
swers them (11-12, 13-22; then 4:1-9; and finally 4:10-17).
 tn The imperfect tense ְך ֵל ֵא (’elekh) carries the modal nu-
ance of obligatory imperfect, i.e., “that I should go.”Moses at
this point is overwhelmed with the task of representing God,
and with his personal insufficiency, and so in honest humility
questions the choice.
 tn Heb “And he said”; the word “replied” clarifies for Eng-
lish readers that speaker is God.
 tn The particle י ִ ּכ (ki) has the asseverative use here, “sure-
ly, indeed,” which is frequently found with oaths (R. J. Wil-
liams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §449). The imperfect tense ה ֶי ְה ֶא
(’ehyeh) could be rendered as the future tense, “I will be” or
the present tense “I am” with you. The future makes the bet-
ter sense in this case, since the subject matter is the future
mission. But since it is a stative verb, the form will also lend
itself nicely to explaining the divine name – he is the One who
is eternally present – “I am with you always.”
sn Here is the introduction of the main motif of the com-
mission, which will be the explanation of the divine name.
It will make little difference who the servant is or what that
servant’s abilities might be, if God is present. The mention of
God’s presence is not a simple catch-phrase; it represents
abundant provisions to the believer (see below on v. 14).
 sn In view ofMoses’ hesitancy, a sign is necessary to sup-
port the promise. A sign is often an unusual or miraculous
event that introduces, authenticates, or illustrates the mes-
sage. One expects a direct connection between the sign and
the message (for a helpful discussion, see S. Porúbcan, “The
Word ’OT in Isaia 7,14,” CBQ 22 [1960]: 144-49). In this pas-
sage the sign is a confirming one, i.e., when Israel worships at
the mountain that will be the proof that God delivered them
from Egypt. Thus, the purpose of the exodus that makes pos-
sible the worship will be to prove that it was God who brought
it about. In themeantime,Moses will have to trust in Yahweh.
 tn The verb ן ּוד ְב ַע ַ ּת (ta’avdun, “you will serve”) is one of the
foremost words for worship in the Torah. Keeping the com-
mandments and serving Yahweh usually sum up the life of
faith; the true worshiper seeks to obey him. The highest title
anyone can have in the OT is “the servant of Yahweh.” The
3:13 Moses said to God, “If0 I go to the Is-
raelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers
has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his
name?’ – what should I say to them?”
verb here could be rendered interpretively as “worship,” but
it is better to keep it to the basic idea of serving because that
emphasizes an important aspect of worship, and it highlights
the change from Israel’s serving Egypt, which has been prom-
inent in the earlier chapters. The words “and they” are sup-
plied to clarify for English readers that the subject of the verb
is plural (Moses and the people), unlike the other second per-
son forms in vv. 10 and 12, which are singular.
sn This sign is also a promise from God – “you will serve
God on this mountain.” It is given to Moses here as a goal,
but a goal already achieved because it was a sign from God.
Leading Israel out of Egypt would not be completed until they
came to this mountain and served God. God does not give
Moses details of what will take place on the road to Sinai, but
he does give him the goal and glimpses of the defeat of Pha-
raoh. The rest will require Moses and the people to trust in
this God who had a plan and who had the power to carry it
 tn Heb “AndMoses said.”
0 tn The particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) in this clause introduces the
foundation for what comes later – the question.Moses is say-
ing, “Suppose I do all this and they ask this question – what
should I say?”
 sn There has been considerable debate about the name
of Yahweh in the Pentateuch, primarily because of theories
that have maintained that the name Yahweh was not known
in antiquity (see also 6:3 and notes there). The argument
of this whole section nullifies that view. The idea that God’s
name was revealed only here raises the question of what he
was called earlier. The word “God” is not a name. “El Shad-
dai” is used only a few times in Genesis. But Israel would not
have had a nameless deity – especially since Genesis says
that from the very beginning people were making proclama-
tion of the name of Yahweh (Gen 4:26; 12:8). It is possible
that they did not always need a name if they were convinced
that only he existed and there was no other God. But prob-
ably what Moses was anticipating was the Israelites’ wanting
to be sure that Moses came with a message from their God,
and that some sign could prove it. They would have known his
name (Yahweh), and they would have known the ways that
he had manifested himself. It would do no good for Moses to
come with a new name for God, for that would be like intro-
ducing them to a new God. That would in no way authenticate
to themMoses’ call, only confuse; after all, they would not be
expecting a new name – they had been praying to their cov-
enantGod all along. Theywouldwant to be sure that their cov-
enant God actually had sent Moses. To satisfy the Israelites
Moses would have had to have been familiar with the name
Yahweh – as they were – and know that he appeared to indi-
viduals. They would also want to know if Yahweh had sentMo-
ses, how this was going to work in their deliverance, because
they had been crying to him for deliverance. As it turned out,
the Israelites had less problem with this than Moses antici-
pated – they were delighted when he came. It is likely that
much of this concern was Moses’ own need for assurance
that thiswas indeed the God of the fathers and that the prom-
ised deliverance was now to take place.
 tn The imperfect tense here has a deliberative nuance
(“should”), for Moses is wondering what would be best to say
when the Israelites want proof of the calling.
exodus 3:11 1
3:14God said toMoses, “i am that i am.”And
he said, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘i am
has sent me to you.’” 3:15God also said toMoses,
“You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The Lord
– the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob – has sent
me to you. This is my name forever, and this is
my memorial from generation to generation.’
3:16 “Go and bring together the elders of Is-
rael and tell them, ‘The Lord, the God of your
 tn The verb form used here is ה ֶי ְה ֶא (’ehyeh), the Qal im-
perfect, first person common singular, of the verb ה ָי ָה (haya,
“to be”). It forms an excellent paronomasia with the name.
So when God used the verb to express his name, he used
this form saying, “I am.” When his people refer to him as Yah-
weh, which is the third personmasculine singular form of the
same verb, they say “he is.” Some commentators argue for a
future tense translation, “I will be who I will be,” because the
verb has an active quality about it, and the Israelites lived in
the light of the promises for the future. They argue that “I am”
would be of little help to the Israelites in bondage. But a trans-
lation of “I will be” does not effectively do much more except
restrict it to the future. The idea of the verb would certainly
indicate that God is not bound by time, and while he is pres-
ent (“I am”) he will always be present, even in the future, and
so “I am” would embrace that as well (see also Ruth 2:13; Ps
50:21; Hos 1:9). The Greek translation of the OT used a parti-
ciple to capture the idea, and several times in the Gospels Je-
sus used the powerful “I am” with this significance (e.g., John
8:58). The point is that Yahweh is sovereignly independent of
all creation and that his presence guarantees the fulfillment
of the covenant (cf. Isa 41:4; 42:6, 8; 43:10-11; 44:6; 45:5-
7). Others argue for a causative Hiphil translation of “I will
cause to be,” but nowhere in the Bible does this verb appear
in Hiphil or Piel. A good summary of the views can be found in
G. H. Parke-Taylor, Yahweh, the Divine Name in the Bible. See
among the many articles: B. Beitzel, “Exodus 3:14 and the
Divine Name: A Case of Biblical Paronomasia,” TJ 1 (1980):
5-20; C. D. Isbell, “The Divine Name ehyeh as a Symbol of
Presence in Israelite Tradition,” HAR 2 (1978): 101-18; J. G.
Janzen, “What’s in aName? Yahweh in Exodus 3 and theWid-
er Biblical Context,” Int 33 (1979): 227-39; J. R. Lundbom,
“God’s Use of the Idem per Idem to Terminate Debate,” HTR
71 (1978): 193-201; A. R. Millard, “Yw and Yhw Names,” VT
30 (1980): 208-12; and R. Youngblood, “A New Occurrence
of the Divine Name ‘I AM,’” JETS 15 (1972): 144-52.
 tn Or “Thus you shall say” (also in the following verse). The
word “must” in the translation conveys the instructional and
imperatival force of the statement.
 sn Heb “Yahweh,” traditionally rendered “the Lord.” First
the verb “I AM” was used (v. 14) in place of the name to indi-
cate itsmeaning and to remindMoses of God’s promise to be
with him (v. 12). Now in v. 15 the actual name is used for clear
identification: “Yahweh…has sent me.” This is the name that
the patriarchs invoked and proclaimed in the land of Canaan.
 sn The words “name” and “memorial” are at the heart of
the two parallel clauses that form a poetic pair. The Hebrew
word “remembrance” is a poetical synonym for “name” (cf.
Job 18:17; Ps 135:13; Prov 10:7; Isa 26:8) and conveys the
idea that the nature or character of the person is to be re-
membered and praised (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 24).
 tn The repetition of “generation” in this expression serves
as a periphrasis for the superlative: “to the remotest genera-
tion” (GKC 432 §133.l).
 tn The form is the perfect tense with the sequential vav (ו)
linking the nuance to the imperative that precedes it. Since
the imperative calls for immediate action, this form either car-
ries the same emphasis, or instructs action that immediately
follows it. This applies likewise to “say,” which follows.
fathers, appeared to me – the God of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob – saying, “I have attended care-
fully to you and to what has been done0 to you in
Egypt, 3:17 and I have promised that I will bring
you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of
the Canaanites, Hittites,Amorites, Perizzites, Hiv-
ites, and Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk
and honey.”’
3:18 “The elders will listen to you, and
then you and the elders of Israel must go to the
king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The Lord, the God
of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, let
us go three days’ journey into the wilderness,
 sn “The God of your fathers” is in simple apposition to the
name “the Lord” (Heb “Yahweh”) as a recognizable identifica-
tion. If the holy name were a new one to the Israelites, an ex-
planationwould have been needed.Meanwhile, the title “God
ofmy/your/our father(s)”waswidely used in the ancientNear
East and also in Genesis (26:24; 28:13; 31:5, 29; 46:1, 3; N.
M. Sarna, Exodus [JPSTC], 268).
 tn The form is the Niphal perfect of the verb “to see.” See
the note on “appeared” in 3:2.
 tn The verb ד ַק ָ ּפ (paqad) has traditionally been rendered
“to visit.” This only partially communicates the point of the
word. When God “visited” someone, it meant that he inter-
vened in their lives to change their circumstances or their
destiny. When he visited the Amalekites, he destroyed them
(1 Sam 15:2). When he visited Sarah, he provided the long
awaited child (Gen 21:1). It refers to God’s active involvement
in human affairs for blessing or for cursing. Here it would
mean that God had begun to act to deliver the Israelites from
bondage and give them the blessings of the covenant. The
form is joined here with the infinitive absolute to underscore
the certainty – “I have indeed visited you.” Some translate it
“remember”; others say “watch over.” These do not capture
the idea of intervention to bless, and often with the idea of
vengeance or judgment on the oppressors. If God were to vis-
it what the Egyptians did, he would stop the oppression and
also bring retribution for it. The nuance of the perfect tense
could be a perfect of resolve (“I have decided to visit”), or an
instantaneous perfect (“I hereby visit”), or a prophetic perfect
(“I have visited” = “I will visit”). The infinitive absolute reinforc-
es the statement (so “carefully”), the rendering “attended to”
attempts to convey the ideas of personal presence, mental
awareness, and action, as when a nurse or physician “at-
tends” a patient.
sn The same word was used in the same kind of construc-
tion at the end of Genesis (50:24) when Joseph promised,
“God will surely visit you” (but there the imperfect tense with
the infinitive absolute). Here is another link to the patriarchal
narratives. This work of Moses would be interpreted as a ful-
fillment of Joseph’s prophecy.
0 tn The second object for the verb is the passive participle
י ּו ׂש ָע ֶה (he’asuy). To say that God has visited the oppression (or
“attended to” it) affirms that God has decided to judge the op-
pressing people as he blesses Israel.
 tn Heb “And I said.”
 tn See the note on this list in 3:8.
 tn Heb “And they will listen”; the referent (the elders) has
been specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn This is the combination of the verb ע ַמ ָשׁ (shama’) fol-
lowed by ָך ֶל ֹק ְל (lÿqolekha), an idiomatic formation that means
“listen to your voice,” which in turn implies a favorable re-
 tn The verb ה ָר ְק ִנ (niqra) has the idea of encountering in a
sudden or unexpected way (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 25).
 tn The form used here is the cohortative of ְך ַל ָה (halakh).
It could be a resolve, but more likely before Pharaoh it is a
sn Was this a deceptive request if they were not planning
on coming back? Since no one knows what the intent was,
that question is not likely to be resolved. The request may
13 exodus 3:18
so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’
3:19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let
you go, not even under force. 3:0 So I will ex-
tend my hand and strike Egypt with all my won-
ders that I will do among them, and after that he
will release you.
3:1 “I will grant this people favor with the
Egyptians, so that when you depart you will not
have been intended to test the waters, so to speak – How did
Pharaoh feel about the Israelites? Would he let them go and
worship their God as they saw fit? In any case, it gave him the
opportunity to grant to the Israelites a permission that other
groups are known to have received (N. M. Sarna, Exodus [JP-
STC], 19).
 tn Here a cohortative with a vav (ו) follows a cohortative;
the second one expresses purpose or result: “let us go…in or-
der that wemay.”
 tn After verbs of perception, as with “I know” here, the ob-
ject may be a noun clause introduced with the particle י ִ ּכ (ki)
– “I know that….” Gesenius observes that the object clause
may have a kind of accusative and an infinitive construction
(especially after ן ַת ָנ [natan] with the idea of “allow”): “he will
not permit you to go” (see GKC 491 §157.b, n. 2).
 tn Heb “and not with a mighty hand.” This expression
(ה ָק ָז ֲח ד ָי ְ ּב א ֹל ְו, vÿlo’ vÿyad khazaqa) is unclear, since v. 20 says
that God will stretch out his hand and do his wonders. Some
have taken v. 19b to refer to God’s mighty hand also, mean-
ing that the king would not let them go unless a mighty hand
compels him (NIV). The expression “mighty hand” is used of
God’s rescuing Israel elsewhere (Exod 6:1, 13:9, 32:11; but
note also Num 20:20). This idea is a rather general interpre-
tation of the words; it owes much to the LXX, which has “ex-
cept by a mighty hand,” though “and not with” does not have
themeaning of “except” or “unless” in other places. In view of
these difficulties, others have suggested that v. 19b means
“strong [threats]” from the Israelites (as in 4:24ff. and 5:3;
see B. Jacob, Exodus, 81). This does not seem as convinc-
ing as the first view. Another possibility is that the phrase con-
veys Pharaoh’s point of view and intention; the Lord knows
that Pharaoh plans to resist letting the Israelites go, regard-
less of the exercise of a strong hand against him (P. Addinall,
“Exodus III 19B and the Interpretation of Biblical Narrative,”
VT 49 [1999]: 289-300; see also the construction “and not
with” in Num 12:8; 1 Sam 20:15 and elsewhere). If that is
the case, v. 20 provides an ironic and pointed contradiction
to Pharaoh’s plans as the Lord announces the effect that his
hand will have. At any rate, Pharaoh will have to be forced to
let Israel go.
 sn The outstretched arm is a bold anthropomorphism. It
describes the power of God. The Egyptians will later admit
that the plagues were by the hand of God (Exod 8:19).
 tn The word י ַת ֹא ְל ְפ ִנ (niflÿ’otay) does not specify what the
intervention will be. As the text unfolds it will be clear that the
plagues are intended. Signs and portents could refer to things
people might do, but “wonders” only God could do. The root
refers to that which is extraordinary, surpassing, amazing, dif-
ficult to comprehend. See Isa 9:6; Gen 18:14; Ps 139:6.
 sn The two uses of the root ח ָל ָשׁ (shalakh) in this verse
contribute to its force. When the Lord “sends” (Qal) his hand,
Pharaoh will “send” (Piel) the Israelites out of Egypt.
 tn Heb “in the eyes of.” This idiom usually means that
someone will be treated well by the observer. It is unlikely
that it means here that the Egyptians will like the Hebrews.
Rather, it means that the Egyptians will give things to the
Hebrews free – gratis (see 12:35-36). Not only will God do
mighty works to make the king yield, but also he will work in
theminds of the Egyptian people so that they will be favorably
disposed to give Israel wealth.
 tn The temporal indicator (here future) with the particle ki
(י ִ ּכ ה ָי ָה ְו, vÿhaya ki) introduces a temporal clause.
leave empty-handed. 3: Every woman will ask
her neighbor and the one who happens to be stay-
ing0 in her house for items of silver and gold
and for clothing. You will put these articles on
your sons and daughters – thus you will plunder
The Source of Sufficiency
4:1 Moses answered again, “And if
they do not believe me or pay attention to me,
but say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’?”
4: The Lord said to him, “What is that in your
hand?” He said, “A staff.” 4:3 The Lord said,
“Throw it to the ground.” So he threw it to
 tn Heb “a woman,” one representing all.
0 tn Heb “from the sojourner.” Both the “neighbor” and the
“sojourner” (“one who happens to be staying in her house”)
are feminine. The difference between them seems to be pri-
marily that the second is temporary, “a lodger” perhaps or
“visitor,” while the first has permanent residence.
 tn Heb “vessels of silver and vessels of gold.” These
phrases both use genitives of material, telling what the ves-
sels aremade of.
 sn It is clear that God intended the Israelites to plunder
the Egyptians, as they might a defeated enemy in war. They
will not go out “empty.” They will “plunder” Egypt. This verb
(ם ֶ ּת ְל ַ ּצ ִנ ְו [vÿnitsaltem] from ל ַצ ָנ [natsal]) usually means “rescue,
deliver,” as if plucking out of danger. But in this stem it carries
the idea of plunder. So when the text says that they will ask
(ה ָל ֲא ָשׁ ְו, vÿsha’alah) their neighbors for things, it implies that
they will bemakingmany demands, and the Egyptians will re-
spond like a defeated nation before victors. The spoils that Is-
rael takes are to be regarded as backwages or compensation
for the oppression (see also Deut 15:13). See further B. Ja-
cob, “The Gifts of the Egyptians, a Critical Commentary,” Jour-
nal of Reformed Judaism 27 (1980): 59-69; and T. C. Vriezen,
“A Reinterpretation of Exodus 3:21-22 and Related Texts,” Ex
Oriente Lux 23 (1975): 389-401.
 sn In chap. 3, the first part of this extensive call, Yahweh
promises to deliver his people. At the hesitancy of Moses,
God guarantees his presence will be with him, and that as-
sures the success of the mission. But with chap. 4, the sec-
ond half of the call, the tone changes sharply. Now Moses
protests his inadequacies in view of the nature of the task. In
many ways, these verses address the question, “Who is suf-
ficient for these things?” There are three basicmovements in
the passage. The first nine verses tell how God gave Moses
signs in case Israel did not believe him (4:1-9). The second
section records how God dealt with the speech problem of
Moses (4:10-12). And finally, the last section records God’s
provision of a helper, someone who could talk well (4:13-17).
See also J. E. Hamlin, “The Liberator’s Ordeal: A Study of Exo-
dus 4:1-9,” Rhetorical Criticism [PTMS], 33-42.
 tn Heb “andMoses answered and said.”
 tn Or “What if.” The use of ן ֵה (hen) is unusual here, intro-
ducing a conditional idea in the question without a following
consequence clause (see Exod 8:22 HT [8:26 ET]; Jer 2:10; 2
Chr 7:13). The Greek has “if not” but adds the clause “what
shall I say to them?”
 tn Heb “listen tomy voice,” so as to respond positively.
 tn Or “rod” (KJV, ASV); NCV, CEV “walking stick”; NLT
“shepherd’s staff.”
sn The staff appears here to be the shepherd’s staff that
he was holding. It now will become the instrument with which
Moses will do themighty works, for it is themedium of the dis-
play of the divine power (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 27; also, L. Sha-
lit, “HowMoses Turned a Staff into a Snake and Back Again,”
BAR 9 [1983]: 72-73).
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
exodus 3:19 14
the ground, and it became a snake, andMoses ran
from it. 4:4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out
your hand and grab it by the tail” – so he put out
his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his
hand – 4:5 “that they may believe that the Lord,
the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared
to you.”
4:6 The Lord also said to him, “Put your hand
into your robe.” So he put his hand into his robe,
and when he brought it out – there was his hand,
leprous like snow! 4:7 He said, “Put your hand
back into your robe.” So he put his hand back
into his robe, and when he brought it out from his
robe – there it was, restored like the rest of his
skin! 4:8 “If they do not believe you or pay at-
tention to0 the former sign, then they may be-
lieve the latter sign. 4:9 And if they do not
believe even these two signs or listen to you,
then take some water from the Nile and pour
it out on the dry ground. The water you take out
 sn The details of the verse are designed to show that there
was a staff that became a snake. The question is used to af-
firm that there truly was a staff, and then the report of Mo-
ses running from it shows it was a genuine snake. Using the
serpent as a sign would have had an impact on the religious
ideas of Egypt, for the sacred cobra was one of their symbols.
 sn The signs authenticated Moses’ ministry as the Lord’s
emissary. This sign will show that the Lord had control over
Egypt and its stability, over life and death. But firstMoses has
to be convinced that he can turn it into a dead stick again.
 tn The word קי ֵח (kheq), often rendered “bosom,” refers to
the front of the chest and a fold in the garment there where
an item could be placed for carrying (see Prov 6:27; 16:33;
21:14). So “into your robe” should be understood loosely here
and in v. 7 as referring to the inside of the top front ofMoses’
garment. The inside chest pocket of a jacket is a rough mod-
ern equivalent.
 tn The particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) points out the startling or
amazing sight as if the reader were catching the first glimpse
of it withMoses.
 sn This sudden skin disease indicated that God was able
to bring such diseases on Egypt in the plagues and that only
he could remove them. The whitening was the first stage of
death for the diseased (Num 12:10; 2 Kgs 5:27). The Hebrew
words traditionally rendered “leprous” or “leprosy,” as they
are used in Lev 13 and 14, encompass a variety of condi-
tions, not limited to the disease called leprosy and identified
as Hansen’s disease inmodern times.
 tn The particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) points out the startling or
amazing sight as if the reader were catching the first glimpse
of it withMoses.
 tn Heb “it returned.”
 tn Heb “like his flesh.”
 tn Heb “and it will be if.”
0 tn Heb “listen to the voice of,” meaning listen so as to
respond appropriately.
 tn The nuance of this perfect tense with a vav (ו) consec-
utive will be equal to the imperfect of possibility – “they may
 tn Heb “believe the voice of the latter sign,” so as to un-
derstand and accept themeaning of the event.
 tn Heb “and it will be if.”
 tn Heb “listen to your voice.”
 tn The verb form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) con-
secutive; it functions then as the equivalent of the imperfect
tense – here as an imperfect of instruction.
of the Nile will become blood on the dry
4:10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my
Lord, I am not an eloquent man,0 neither in the
past nor since you have spoken to your servant,
for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
4:11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave a
mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or
deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?
 sn This is a powerful sign, for the Nile was always known
as the source of life in Egypt, but now it will become the evi-
dence of death. So the three signswere alike, each consisting
of life and death. They would clearly anticipate the struggle
with Egypt through the plagues. The point is clear that in the
face of the possibility that people might not believe, the ser-
vants of God must offer clear proof of the power of God as
they deliver themessage of God. The rest is up to God.
 sn Now Moses took up another line of argumentation,
the issue of his inability to speak fluently (vv. 10-17). The
point here is that God’s servants must yield themselves as
instruments to God, the Creator. It makes no difference what
character traits they have or what weaknesses they think they
have (Moses manages to speak very well) if God is present.
If the sovereign God has chosen them, then they have every-
thing that God intended them to have.
 tn The word י ִ ּב (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks per-
mission to speak and is always followed by “my lord” or “my
Lord.” Often rendered “please,” it is “employed in petitions,
complaints and excuses” (W. H. C. Propp, Exodus 1–18 [AB],
 tn The designation in Moses’ address is י ָנ ֹד ֲא (’adonay),
a term of respect and deference such as “lord, master, sir”
but pointed as it would be when it represents the tetragram-
maton. B. Jacob says since this is the first time Moses spoke
directly to Yahweh, he did so hesitatingly (Exodus, 87).
0 tn When a noun clause is negated with א ֹל (lo’), rather
than ןי ֵא (’en), there is a special emphasis, since the force of
the negative falls on a specific word (GKC 479 §152.d). The
expression “eloquentman” is םי ִר ָב ְ ּד שׁ י ִא (’ish dÿvarim, “aman
of words”). The genitive may indicate a man characterized by
words or a man who is able to command or control words.
Moses apparently is resigned to the fact that he can do the
signs, but he knows the signs have to be explained.
 tn Heb “also from yesterday also from three days ago” or
“neither since yesterday nor since before that” is idiomatic for
“previously” or “in the past.”
 tn The two expressions are ה ֶ ּפ־ד ַב ְכ (khÿvad peh, “heavy of
mouth”), and then ן ֹושׁ ָל ד ַב ְכ (khÿvad lashon, “heavy of tongue”).
Both use genitives of specification, themouth and the tongue
being what are heavy – slow. “Mouth” and “tongue” are me-
tonymies of cause. Moses is saying that he has a problem
speaking well. Perhaps he had been too long at the other side
of the desert, or perhaps he was being a little dishonest. At
any rate, he has still not captured themeaning of God’s pres-
ence. See among other works, J. H. Tigay, “‘Heavy of Mouth’
and ‘Heavy of Tongue’: On Moses’ Speech Difficulty,” BASOR
231 (1978): 57-67.
 tn The verb םי ׂ ִש (sim) means “to place, put, set”; the
sentence here more precisely says, “Who put a mouth into
sn The argumentation by Moses is here met by Yahweh’s
rhetorical questions. They are intended to be sharp – it is re-
proof forMoses. Themessage is twofold. First, Yahweh is fully
able to overcome all ofMoses’ deficiencies. Second,Moses is
exactly the way that God intended him to be. So the rhetorical
questions aremeant to prodMoses’ faith.
 sn The final question obviously demands a positive an-
swer. But the clause is worded in such a way as to return to
the theme of “I AM.” Isaiah 45:5-7 developed this same idea
of God’s control over life. Moses protests that he is not an el-
oquent speaker, and the Lord replies with reminders about
himself and promises, “I will be with your mouth,” an asser-
tion that repeats the verb he used four times in 3:12 and 14
and in promises to Isaac and Jacob (Gen 26:3; 31:3).
15 exodus 4:11
4:1 So now go, and I will be with your mouth
and will teach you what you must say.”
4:13 But Moses said, “O my Lord, please
send anyone else whom you wish to send!”
4:14 Then the Lord became angry with Mo-
ses, and he said, “What about your brother Aar-
on the Levite? I know that he can speak very
well.0 Moreover, he is coming to meet you,
 sn The promise of divine presence always indicates in-
tervention (for blessing or cursing). Here it means that God
would be working through the organs of speech to help Mo-
ses speak. See Deut 18:18; Jer 1:9.
 sn The verb is ָךי ִתי ֵר ֹוה ְו (vÿhoretikha), the Hiphil perfect with
a vav (ו) consecutive. The form carries the instructionalmean-
ing because it follows the imperative “go.” In fact, there is a
sequence at work here: “go…and/that I may teach you.” It is
from ה ָר ָי (yara), the same root behind ה ָר ֹו ּת (torah, “law”). This
always referred to teaching either wisdom or revelation. Here
Yahweh promises to teachMoses what to say.
 tn The form is the imperfect tense.While it could be taken
as a future (“what you will say”), an obligatory imperfect cap-
tures the significance better (“what you must say” or “what
you are to say”). Not even the content of the message will be
left up toMoses.
 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been spec-
ified in the translation for clarity.
 tn Theword י ִ ּב (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks permis-
sion to speak and is always followed by “Lord” or “my Lord.”
 tn The text has simply ח ָל ְשׁ ִ ּת־ד ַי ְ ּב א ָנ־ח ַל ְשׁ (shÿlakh-na’ bÿyad
tishlakh, “send by the hand you will send”). This is notMoses’
resignation to doing God’s will – it is his final attempt to avoid
the call. It carries the force of asking God to send someone
else. This is an example of an independent relative clause
governed by the genitive: “by the hand of – whomever you will
send” (see GKC 488-89 §155.n).
 tn Heb “and the anger of Yahweh burned against.”
sn Moses had not dared openly to say “except me” when
he asked God to send whomever he wanted to send. But God
knew that is what he meant. Moses should not have resisted
the call or pleaded such excuses or hesitated with such weak
faith. Now God abandoned the gentle answer and in anger
brought in a form of retribution. Because Moses did not want
to do this, he was punished by not having the honor of doing
it alone. His reluctance and the result are like the refusal of
Israel to enter the land and the result they experienced (see
U. Cassuto, Exodus, 49-50).
 tn Heb “Is not” or perhaps “Is [there] not.”
 sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 29) suggests that the term “Lev-
ite” may refer to a profession rather than ancestry here, be-
cause both Moses and Aaron were from the tribe of Levi and
there would be little point in noting that ancestry for Aaron. In
thinking through the difficult problem of the identity of Lev-
ites, he cites McNeile as saying “the Levite” referred to one
who had had official training as a priest (cf. Judg 17:7, where
amember of the tribe of Judah was a Levite). If it was the duty
of the priest to give “torah” – to teach – then some training in
the power of language would have been in order.
0 tn The construction uses the Piel infinitive absolute and
the Piel imperfect to express the idea that he spoke very well:
ר ֵ ּב ַד ְי ר ֵ ּב ַד (dabber yÿdabber).
sn Now Yahweh, in condescending toMoses, selects some-
thing that Moses (and God) did not really need for the work.
It is as if he were saying: “If Moses feels speaking ability is so
necessary (rather than the divine presence), then that is what
he will have.” Of course, this golden-tongued Aaron had some
smooth words about how the golden calf was forged!
 tn The particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) with the participle points to
the imminent future; itmeans “he is about to come” or “here
he is coming.”
and when he sees you he will be glad in his
4:15 “So you are to speak to him and put the
words in his mouth. And as for me, I will be with
your mouth and with his mouth, and I will
teach you bothwhat youmust do. 4:16Hewill
speak for you to the people, and itwill be as if he
were your mouth0 and as if you were his God.
4:17You will also take in your hand this staff, with
which you will do the signs.”
The Return of Moses
4:18 So Moses went back to his father-in-
law Jethro and said to him, “Let me go, so that I
may return to my relatives in Egypt and see
if they are still alive.” Jethro said to Moses, “Go
 sn It is unlikely that this simply means that as a brother
he will be pleased to seeMoses, for the narrative has no time
for that kind of comment. It is interested in more significant
things. The implication is that Aaron will rejoice because of
the revelation of God to Moses and the plan to deliver Israel
from bondage (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 93).
 tn Or “I will help you speak.” The independent pronoun
puts emphasis (“as forme”) on the subject (“I”).
 tn Or “and will help him speak.”
 tn The word “both” is supplied to convey that this object
(“you”) and the subject of the next verb (“you must do”) are
plural in the Hebrew text, referring to Moses and Aaron. In
4:16 “you” returns to being singular in reference toMoses.
 tn The imperfect tense carries the obligatory nuance
here as well. The relative pronoun with this verb forms a noun
clause functioning as the direct object of “I will teach.”
 tn The word “he” represents the Hebrew independent
pronoun, whichmakes the subject emphatic.
 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity.
 tn Heb “and it will be [that] he, he will be to you for a
mouth,” ormore simply, “he will be yourmouth.”
0 tn Heb “he will be to you for amouth.”
 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity. The word
“you” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which
makes the subject emphatic.
sn Moses will be like God to Aaron, giving him the words
to say, inspiring him as God would inspire a prophet. The
whole process had now been removed one step. Instead of
God speaking to Moses and Moses telling the people, Aaron
would be the speaker for a while. But God was still going to
work throughMoses.
 sn Mention of the staff makes an appropriate ending to
the section, for God’s power (represented by the staff) will
work throughMoses. The applicable point that thiswhole sec-
tion ismaking could be worded this way: The servants of God
who sense their inadequacy must demonstrate the power of
God as their sufficiency.
 sn This last section of the chapter reportsMoses’ compli-
ance with the commission. It has four parts: the decision to
return (18-20), the instruction (21-23), the confrontation with
Yahweh (24-26), and the presentation with Aaron (27-31).
 tn The two verbs form a verbal hendiadys, the second
verb becoming adverbial in the translation: “and he went and
he returned” becomes “and he went back.”
 tn There is a sequence here with the two cohortative
forms: ה ָב ּושׁ ָא ְו א ָ ּנ ה ָכ ְל ֵא (’elÿkhah nna’ vÿ’ashuva) – “letme go in
order that Imay return.”
 tn Heb “brothers.”
 tn This verb is parallel to the preceding cohortative and
so also expresses purpose: “let me go that I may return…and
that Imay see.”
exodus 4:1 16
in peace.” 4:19 The Lord said to Moses in Mid-
ian, “Go back to Egypt, because all the men
who were seeking your life are dead.” 4:0 Then
Moses took his wife and sons and put them
on a donkey and headed back to the land of
Egypt, and Moses took the staff of God in his
hand. 4:1 The Lord said to Moses, “When you
go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pha-
raoh all the wonders I have put under your con-
trol. But I will harden0 his heart and he will
 tn The text has two imperatives, “Go, return”; if these are
interpreted as a hendiadys (as in the translation), then the
second is adverbial.
 sn The text clearly stated that Pharaoh sought to kill Mo-
ses; so this seems to be a reference to Pharaoh’s death short-
ly before Moses’ return. Moses was forty years in Midian. In
the 18th dynasty, only Pharaoh Thutmose III had a reign of
the right length (1504-1450 b.c.) to fit this period of Moses’
life. This would place Moses’ returning to Egypt near 1450
b.c., in the beginning of the reign of Amenhotep II, whommost
conservatives identify as the pharaoh of the exodus. Rame-
ses II, of course, had a very long reign (1304-1236). But if he
were the one from whom Moses fled, then he could not be
the pharaoh of the exodus, but his son would be – and that
puts the date of the exodus after 1236, a date too late for
anyone. See E. H.Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 62.
 tn Heb “AndMoses took.”
 sn Only Gershom has been mentioned so far. The other
son’s name will be explained in chapter 18. The explanation
of Gershom’s name was important to Moses’ sojourn in Mid-
ian. The explanation of the name Eliezer fits better in the later
chapter (18:2-4).
 tn The verb would literally be rendered “and returned”;
however, the narrative will record other happenings before he
arrived in Egypt, so an ingressive nuance fits here – he began
to return, or started back.
 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
 tn The construction may involve a verbal hendiadys using
the two infinitive forms: “when you go to return” (ב ּושׁ ָל ָך ְ ּת ְכ ֶל ְ ּב,
bÿlekhtÿkha lashuv). The clause is temporal, subordinated to
the instruction to do the signs. Therefore, its focus cannot be
on going to return, i.e., preparing or beginning to return.
 tn The two verb forms in this section are the impera-
tive (ה ֵא ְר, rÿ’eh) followed by the perfect with the vav (ם ָתי ׂ ִש ֲע ַו,
va’asitam). The second could be coordinated and function
as a second command: “see…and [then] do”; or it could be
subordinated logically: “see…so that you do.” Some com-
mentators who take the first option suggest that Moses was
supposed to contemplate these wonders before doing them
before Pharaoh. That does not seem as likely as the second
interpretation reflected in the translation.
 tn Or “in your power”; Heb “in your hand.”
0 tn Heb “strengthen” (in the sense of making stubborn
or obstinate). The text has the expression ֹו ּב ִל־ת ֶא ק ֵ ּז ַח ֲא י ִנ ֲא ַו
(va’ani ’akhazzeq ’et-libbo), “I will make strong his will,” or “I
will strengthen his resolve,” recognizing the “heart” as the lo-
cation of decisionmaking (see Prov 16:1, 9).
 sn Here is the firstmention of the hardening of the heart
of Pharaoh. God first tellsMoses hemust do themiracles, but
he also announces that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart, as if
working againstMoses. It will helpMoses to know that God is
bringing about the resistance in order to bring a greater vic-
tory with greater glory. There is a great deal of literature on
this, but see among the resources F. W. Danker, “Hardness
of Heart: A Study in Biblical Thematic,” CTM 44 (1973): 89-
100; R. R. Wilson, “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart,” CBQ
41 (1979): 18-36; and R. B. Chisholm Jr., “Divine Hardening
in the Old Testament,” BSac 153 (1996): 410-34.
 tn Or “so that.”
not let the people go. 4: You must say to Pha-
raoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is my son, my
firstborn, 4:3 and I said to you, ‘Let my son go
that he may serve me,’ but since you have re-
fused to let him go, I will surely kill your son,
your firstborn!”’”
4:4 Now on the way, at a place where they
stopped for the night, the Lord met Moses
and sought to kill him.0 4:5 But Zipporah took
a flint knife, cut off the foreskin of her son and
touched it to Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely
you are a bridegroom of blood to me.” 4:6 So
 tn The sequence of the instruction from God uses the
perfect tense with vav (ו), following the preceding imperfects.
 tn The instantaneous use of the perfect tense fits well
with the prophetic announcement of what Yahweh said or
says. It shows that the words given to the prophet are still
 sn The metaphor uses the word “son” in its connotation
of a political dependent, as it was used in ancient documents
to describe what was intended to be a loyal relationship with
well-known privileges and responsibilities, like that between a
good father and son. The word can mean a literal son, a de-
scendant, a chosen king (and so, the Messiah), a disciple (in
Proverbs), and here, a nation subject to God. If the people of
Israel were God’s “son,” then they should serve him and not
Pharaoh. Malachi reminds people that the Law said “a son
honors his father,” and so God asked, “If I am a father, where
ismy honor?” (Mal 1:6).
 tn The text uses the imperative, “send out” (ח ַ ּל ַשׁ , shal-
lakh) followed by the imperfect or jussive with the vav (ו) to
express purpose.
 tn The Piel infinitive serves as the direct object of the
verb, answering the question of what Pharaoh would refuse
to do. The command and refusal to obey are the grounds for
the announcement of death for Pharaoh’s son.
 tn The construction is very emphatic. The particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה
(hinneh) gives it an immediacy and a vividness, as if God is
already beginning to act. The participle with this particle has
the nuance of an imminent future act, as if God is saying, “I
am about to kill.” These words are not repeated until the last
 tn Or “at a lodging place” or “at an inn.”
0 sn The next section (vv. 24-26) records a rather strange
story. God had said that if Pharaoh would not comply he
would kill his son – but now God was ready to kill Moses,
the representative of Israel, God’s own son. Apparently, one
would reconstruct that on the journey Moses fell seriously ill,
but his wife, learning the cause of the illness, saved his life by
circumcising her son and casting the foreskin at Moses’ feet
(indicating that itwas symbolicallyMoses’ foreskin). The point
is that this son of Abraham had not complied with the sign of
the Abrahamic covenant. No one, according to Exod 12:40-
51, would take part in the Passover-exodus who had not com-
plied. So how could the one who was going to lead God’s peo-
ple not comply? The bold anthropomorphisms and the loca-
tion at the border invite comparisons with Gen 32, the Angel
wrestlingwith Jacob. In both cases there is a brushwith death
that could not be forgotten. See also, W. Dumbrell, “Exodus
4:24-25: A Textual Re-examination,” HTR 65 (1972): 285-
90; T. C. Butler, “An Anti-Moses Tradition,” JSOT 12 (1979):
9-15; and L. Kaplan, “And the Lord Sought to Kill Him,” HAR
5 (1981): 65-74.
 tn Heb “to his feet.” The referent (Moses) has been spec-
ified in the translation for clarity. The LXX has “and she fell at
his feet” and then “the blood of the circumcision of my son
stood.” But it is clear that she caused the foreskin to touch
Moses’ feet, as if the one were a substitution for the other,
taking the place of the other (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 60).
 sn U. Cassuto explains that she was saying, “I have de-
livered you from death, and your return to life makes you my
bridegroom a second time, this time my blood bridegroom, a
bridegroom acquired through blood” (Exodus, 60-61).
17 exodus 4:6
the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said, “A
bridegroom of blood,” referring to the circumci-
4:7 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go to the
wilderness to meet Moses. So he went and met
him at the mountain of God and greeted him
with a kiss. 4:8 Moses told Aaron all the words
of the Lord who had sent him and all the signs
that he had commanded him. 4:9 Then Mo-
ses and Aaron went and brought together all
the Israelite elders. 4:30 Aaron spoke all the
words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and
did the signs in the sight of the people, 4:31 and
the people believed. When they heard0 that the
Lord had attended to the Israelites and that he
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 tn Or “Therefore.” The particle ז ָא (’az) here is not introduc-
ing the next item in a series of events. It points back to the
past (“at that time,” see Gen 4:26) or to a logical connection
(“therefore, consequently”).
 tn The Hebrew simply has ת ֹל ּו ּמ ַל (lammulot, “to the
circumcision[s]”). The phrase explains that the saying was in
reference to the act of circumcision. Some scholars specu-
late that there was a ritual prior to marriage from which this
event and its meaning derived. But it appears rather that if
there was some ancient ritual, it would have had to come
from this event. The difficulty is that the son is circumcised,
notMoses,making the comparativemythological view unten-
able. Moses had apparently not circumcised Eliezer. Since
Moses was taking his family with him, God had to make sure
the sign of the covenant was kept. It may be that here Moses
sent them all back to Jethro (18:2) because of the difficulties
that lay ahead.
 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
 tn S. R. Driver considers that this verse is a continuation
of vv. 17 and 18 and that Aaron met Moses before Moses
started back to Egypt (Exodus, 33). The first verb, then,might
have the nuance of a past perfect: Yahweh had said.
 tn Heb “and kissed him.”
 tn This verb and the last one in the verse are rendered
with the past perfect nuance because they refer to what the
Lord had done prior toMoses’ telling Aaron.
 sn These are the leaders of the tribes who represented all
the people. Later, after the exodus,Moseswill select themost
capable of them and others to be rulers in a judicial sense
(Exod 18:21).
 tn Heb “And Aaron spoke.”
0 tc The LXX (Greek OT) has “and they rejoiced,” probably
reading ּוח ְמ ׂ ְש ִ ּי ַו (vayyismÿkhu) instead of what the MT reading,
ּוע ְמ ׂ ְש ִ ּי ַו (vayyismÿ’u, “and they heard”). To rejoice would have
seemed a natural response of the people at the news, and
the words sound similar in Hebrew.
tn The form is the preterite with the vav consecutive, “and
they heard.” It clearly is a temporal clause subordinate to the
following verbs that report how they bowed and worshiped.
But it is also in sequence to the preceding: they believed, and
then they bowed when they heard.
 tn Or “intervened for.” The word ד ַק ָ ּפ (paqad) has tradi-
tionally been translated “visited,” which is open to many in-
terpretations. It means that God intervened in the life of the
Israelites to bless them with the fulfillment of the promises.
It says more than that he took notice of them, took pity on
them, or remembered them. He had not yet fulfilled the prom-
ises, but he had begun to act by callingMoses and Aaron. The
translation “attended to” attempts to capture thatmuch.
had seen their affliction, they bowed down close
to the ground.
Opposition to the Plan of God
5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to
Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, the
God of Israel, ‘Release my people so that they
may hold a pilgrim feast to me in the desert.’”
5: But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I
should obey him by releasing0 Israel? I do not
know the Lord, and I will not release Israel!”
 tn The verb ּו ּו ֲח ַ ּת ְשׁ ִ ּי ַו (vayyishtakhavu) is usually rendered
“worshiped.” More specifically, the verbal root ה ָו ָח (khava) in
the hishtaphel stemmeans “to cause oneself to be low to the
ground.” While there is nothing wrong with giving it a general
translation of “worship,” itmay be better in a passage like this
to take it in conjunction with the other verb (“bow”) as a ver-
bal hendiadys, using it as an adverb to that verb. The implica-
tion is certainly that they prayed, or praised, and performed
some other aspect of worship, but the text may just be de-
scribing it from their posture of worship. With this response,
all the fears of Moses are swept aside – they believed and
they were thankful to God.
 sn The enthusiasm of the worshipers in the preceding
chapter turns sour in this one when Pharaoh refuses to co-
operate. The point is clear that when the people of God at-
tempt to devote their full service and allegiance to God, they
encounter opposition from the world. Rather than finding in-
stant blessing and peace, they find conflict. This is the theme
that will continue through the plague narratives. But what
makes chapter 5 especially interesting is how the people re-
acted to this opposition. The chapter has three sections: first,
the confrontation betweenMoses and Pharaoh (vv. 1-5); then
the report of the stern opposition of the king (vv. 6-14); and
finally, the sad account of the effect of this opposition on the
people (vv. 15-21).
 tn Heb “Yahweh.”
 tn The form ח ַ ּל ַשׁ (shallakh), the Piel imperative, has been
traditionally translated “let [my people] go.” The Qal would be
“send”; so the Piel “send away, release, dismiss, discharge.”
B. Jacob observes, “If a person was dismissed through the
use of this verb, then he ceased to be within the power or
sphere of influence of the individual who had dismissed him.
He was completely free and subsequently acted entirely on
his own responsibility” (Exodus, 115).
 tn The verb ג ַג ָח (khagag) means to hold a feast or to go
on a pilgrim feast. The Arabic cognate of the noun form is haj,
best known for the pilgrim flight of Mohammed, the hajira.
The form in the text ( ּו ּג ֹח ָי ְו, vÿyakhoggu) is subordinated to the
imperative and thus shows the purpose of the imperative.
 tn Heb “Yahweh.” This is a rhetorical question, express-
ing doubt or indignation or simply a negative thought that
Yahweh is nothing (see erotesis in E. W. Bullinger, Figures of
Speech, 944-45). Pharaoh is not asking for information (cf. 1
Sam 25:5-10).
 tn The relative pronoun introduces the consecutive
clause that depends on the interrogative clause (see GKC
318-19 §107.u).
 tn The imperfect tense here receives the classification
of obligatory imperfect. The verb ע ַמ ָשׁ (shama’) followed by “in
the voice of” is idiomatic; rather than referring to simple audi-
tion – “that I should hear his voice” – it conveys the thought of
listening that issues in action – “that I should obey him.”
sn The construction of these clauses is similar to (ironically)
the words ofMoses: “Who am I that I should go?” (3:11).
0 tn The Piel infinitive construct here has the epexegetical
usage with lamed (ל); it explains the verb “obey.”
 sn This absolute statement of Pharaoh is part of a mo-
tif that will develop throughout the conflict. For Pharaoh, the
Lord (Yahweh) did not exist. So he said “I do not know the Lord
[i.e., Yahweh].” The point of the plagues and the exodus will
be “that hemight know.” Pharaoh will come to know this Yah-
weh, but not in any pleasant way.
exodus 4:7 18
5:3 And they said, “The God of the Hebrews has
met with us. Let us go a three-day journey into
the desert so that we may sacrifice to the Lord
our God, so that he does not strike us with plague
or the sword.” 5:4The king of Egypt said to them,
“Moses and Aaron, why do you cause the people
to refrain from their work? Return to your labor!”
5:5 Pharaohwas thinking, “The people of the land
are now many, and you are giving them rest from
their labor.”
5:6 That same day Pharaoh commanded the
slave masters and foremen who were over the
people: 5:7 “You must no longer0 give straw to
 tn Theword “journey” is an adverbial accusative telling the
distance thatMoses wanted the people to go. It is qualified by
“three days.” It is not saying that they will be gone three days,
but that they will go a distance that will take three days to cov-
er (see Gen 31:22-23; Num 10:33; 33:8).
 tn The purpose clause here is formed with a second co-
hortative joined with a vav (ו): “let us go…and let us sacrifice.”
The purpose of the going was to sacrifice.
snWhere didMoses get the idea that they should have a pil-
grim feast andmake sacrifices? God had only said they would
serve Him in thatmountain. In the OT the pilgrim feasts to the
sanctuary three times a year incorporated the ideas of serv-
ing the Lord and keeping the commands. So the words here
use the more general idea of appearing before their God.
They would go to the desert because there was no homeland
yet. Moses later spoke of the journey as necessary to avoid
offending Egyptian sensibilities (8:25-26).
 sn The last clause of this verse is rather unexpected here:
“lest he meet [afflict] us with pestilence or sword.” To fail to
comply with the summons of one’s God was to invite such ca-
lamities. The Law would later incorporate many such things
as the curses for disobedience. Moses is indicating to Pha-
raoh that there ismore reason to fear Yahweh than Pharaoh.
 sn The clause is a rhetorical question. Pharaoh is not ask-
ing them why they do this, but rather is accusing them of do-
ing it. He suspects their request is an attempt to get people
time away from their labor. In Pharaoh’s opinion, Moses and
Aaron were “removing the restraint” (ע ַר ָ ּפ, para’) of the people
in an effort to give them rest. Ironically, under the Law the
people would be expected to cease their labor when they
went to appear before God. He would give them the rest that
Pharaoh refused to give. It should be noted also that it was
not Israel who doubted that Yahweh had sent Moses, as Mo-
ses had feared – but rather Pharaoh.
 tn Heb “And Pharaoh said.” This is not the kind of thing
that Pharaoh is likely to have said to Moses, and so it prob-
ably iswhat he thought or reasonedwithin himself. Other pas-
sages (like Exod 2:14; 3:3) show that the verb “said” can do
this. (See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 67.)
 tn Heb “and Pharaoh commanded on that day.”
 tn The Greek has “scribes” for this word, perhaps thinking
of those lesser officials as keeping records of the slaves and
the bricks.
 tn The phrase “who were” is supplied for clarity.
 sn In vv. 6-14 the second section of the chapter describes
the severe measures by the king to increase the labor by de-
creasing the material. The emphasis in this section must be
on the harsh treatment of the people and Pharaoh’s reason
for it – he accuses them of idleness because they want to go
and worship. The real reason, of course, is that he wants to
discreditMoses (v. 9) and keep the people as slaves.
0 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys: ת ֵת ָל ן ּופ ִסא ֹת א ֹל
(lo’ to’sifun latet, “you must not add to give”). The imperfect
tense acts adverbially, and the infinitive becomes the main
verb of the clause: “youmust no longer give.”
thepeople formakingbricks asbefore.Let them
go and collect straw for themselves. 5:8 But you
must require of them the same quota of bricks
that they were making before. Do not reduce it,
for they are slackers. That iswhy they are crying,
‘Let us go sacrifice to ourGod.’5:9Make thework
harder for the men so they will keep at it and
pay no attention to lying words!”
5:10 So the slave masters of the people and
their foremen went to the Israelites and said,0
“Thus says Pharaoh: ‘I am not giving you
straw. 5:11 You go get straw for yourselves
wherever you can find it, because there will be
no reduction at all in your workload.’” 5:1 So
 tn The expression “for making bricks” is made of the
infinitive construct followed by its cognate accusative: ן ֹ ּב ְל ִל
םי ִנ ֵב ְ ּל ַה (lilbon hallÿvenim).
 tn Heb “as yesterday and three days ago” or “as yester-
day and before that.” This is idiomatic for “as previously” or
“as in the past.”
 tn The jussive ּוכ ְל ֵי (yelÿkhu) and its following sequential
verb would have the force of decree and not permission or
advice. He is telling them to go and find straw or stubble for
the bricks.
 tn The verb is the Qal imperfect of םי ׂ ִש (sim, “place, put”).
The form could be an imperfect of instruction: “You will place
upon them the quota.” Or, as here, it may be an obligatory
imperfect: “Youmust place.”
 tn Heb “yesterday and three days ago” or “yesterday and
before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”
 tn Or “loafers.” The form םי ִ ּפ ְר ִנ (nirpim) is derived from
the verb ה ָפ ָר (rafah), meaning “to be weak, to let oneself go.”
They had been letting the work go, Pharaoh reasoned, and
being idle is why they had time to think about going to wor-
 tn Heb “let the work be heavy.”
 tn The text has ּה ָב־ ּו ׂש ֲע ַי ְו (vÿya’asu-vah, “and let them work
in it”) or the like. The jussive forms part of the king’s decree
that themen not only be required to work harder but be doing
it: “Let them be occupied in it.”
sn For a discussion of this whole section, see K. A. Kitchen,
“From the Brickfields of Egypt,” TynBul 27 (1976): 137-47.
 sn The words of Moses are here called “lying words”
(ר ֶק ָשׁ ־י ֵר ְב ִד, divre-shaqer). Here is the main reason, then, for
Pharaoh’s new policy. He wanted to discredit Moses. So the
words that Moses spoke Pharaoh calls false and lying words.
The world was saying that God’s words were vain and decep-
tive because they were calling people to a higher order. In a
short time God would reveal that they were true words.
0 tn Heb “went out and spoke to the people saying.” Here
“the people” has been specified as “the Israelites” for clarity.
 tn The construction uses the negative particle combined
with a subject suffix before the participle: ן ֵת ֹנ י ִ ּנ ֶני ֵא (’enenni no-
ten, “there is not I – giving”).
 tn The independent personal pronoun emphasizes that
the people were to get their own straw, and it heightens the
contrast with the king. “You – go get.”
 tn The tense in this section could be translated as hav-
ing the nuance of possibility: “wherever you may find it,” or
the nuance of potential imperfect: “wherever you are able to
find any.”
19 exodus 5:1
the people spread out through all the land ofEgypt
to collect stubble for straw. 5:13 The slave masters
were pressuring them, saying, “Complete your
work for each day, just likewhen therewas straw!”
5:14 The Israelite foremen whom Pharaoh’s slave
masters had set over them were beaten and were
asked, “Why did you not complete your require-
ment for brickmaking as in the past – both yester-
day and today?”
5:15 The Israelite foremen went and cried out
to Pharaoh, “Why are you treating your servants
this way? 5:16 No straw is given to your servants,
but we are told, ‘Make bricks!’Your servants are
even being beaten, but the fault0 is with your
 tn The verb ץ ֶפ ָ ּי ַו (vayyafets) is from the hollow root ץ ּו ּפ (puts)
andmeans “scatter, spread abroad.”
 tn Or “pressed.”
 tn ּו ּל ַ ּכ (kallu) is the Piel imperative; the verbmeans “to fin-
ish, complete” in the sense of filling up the quota.
 tn The quotation is introduced with the common word
ר ֹמא ֵל (le’mor, “saying”) and no mention of who said the ques-
 sn The idioms for time here are found also in 3:10 and
5:7-8. This question no doubt represents many accusations
shouted at Israelites during the period when it was becom-
ing obvious that, despite all their efforts, they were unable to
meet their quotas as before.
 sn The last section of this event tells the effect of the op-
pression on Israel, first on the people (15-19) and then on
Moses and Aaron (20-21). The immediate reaction of Israel
was to cry to Pharaoh – something they would learn should
be directed to God. When Pharaoh rebuffed them harshly,
they turned bitterly against their leaders.
 tn The imperfect tense should be classified here with the
progressive imperfect nuance, because the harsh treatment
was a present reality.
 tn Heb “[they] are saying to us,” the line can be rendered
as a passive since there is no expressed subject for the par-
 tn ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) draws attention to the action reflected in
the passive participle םי ִ ּכ ֻמ (mukkim): “look, your servants are
being beaten.”
0 tn The word rendered “fault” is the basic OT verb for
“sin” – תא ָט ָח ְו (vÿkhata’t). The problem is that it is pointed as
a perfect tense, feminine singular verb. Some other form of
the verb would be expected, or a noun. But the basic word-
groupmeans “to err, sin,miss themark, way, goal.” The word
in this context seems to indicate that the people of Pharaoh
– the slavemasters – have failed to provide the straw. Hence:
“fault” or “they failed.” But, as indicated, the line has difficult
grammar, for it would literally translate: “and you [fem.] sin
your people.” Many commentators (so GKC 206 §74.g) wish
to emend the text to read with the Greek and the Syriac, thus:
“you sin against your own people” (meaning the Israelites are
his loyal subjects).
5:17 But Pharaoh replied, “You are slackers!
Slackers! That is why you are saying, ‘Let us
go sacrifice to the Lord.’ 5:18 So now, get back to
work!You will not be given straw, but you must
still produce your quota of bricks!” 5:19The Is-
raelite foremen saw that they were in trouble
when they were told, “You must not reduce the
daily quota of your bricks.”
5:0 When they went out from Pharaoh, they
encountered Moses and Aaron standing there to
meet them, 5:1 and they said to them, “May
the Lord look on you and judge,0 because you
have made us stink in the opinion of Pharaoh
 tn Heb “And he said.”
 tn Or “loafers.” The form םי ִ ּפ ְר ִנ (nirpim) is derived from
the verb ה ָפ ָר (rafah),meaning “to be weak, to let oneself go.”
 tn The text has two imperatives: “go, work.” Theymay be
used together to convey one complex idea (so a use of hendi-
adys): “go back to work.”
 tn The imperfect ּו ּנ ֵ ּת ִ ּת (tittennu) is here taken as an oblig-
atory imperfect: “youmust give” or “youmust produce.”
 sn B. Jacob is amazed at the wealth of this tyrant’s vo-
cabulary in describing the work of others. Here, ן ֶכ ֹת (tokhen)
is another word for “quota” of bricks, the fifth word used to
describe their duty (Exodus, 137).
 tn The common Hebrew verb translated “saw,” like the
common English verb for seeing, is also used to refer tomen-
tal perception and understanding, as in the question “See
what I mean?” The foremen understood how difficult things
would be under this ruling.
 tn The text has the sign of the accusative with a suffix
and then a prepositional phrase: ע ָר ְ ּב ם ָת ֹא (’otam bÿra’),mean-
ing something like “[they saw] them in trouble” or “them-
selves in trouble.” Gesenius shows a few examples where the
accusative of the reflexive pronoun is represented by the sign
of the accusativewith a suffix, and thesewithmarked empha-
sis (GKC 439 §135.k).
 tn The clause “when they were told” translates ר ֹמא ֵל
(le’mor), which usually simply means “saying.” The thing that
was said was clearly the decree that was given to them.
 sn Moses and Aaron would not havemade the appeal to
Pharaoh that these Hebrew foremen did, but they were con-
cerned to see whatmight happen, and so they waited tomeet
the foremen when they came out.
0 tn The foremen vented their anger on Moses and Aaron.
The two jussives express their desire that the evil these two
have caused be dealtwith. “May Yahweh look on you andmay
he judge” could mean only that God should decide if Moses
and Aaron are at fault, but given the rest of the comments it
is clear the foremen want more. The second jussive could be
subordinated to the first – “so that hemay judge [you].”
 tn Heb “you havemade our aroma stink.”
 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”
exodus 5:13 130
and his servants, so that you have given them an
excuse to kill us!”
The Assurance of Deliverance
5: Moses returned to the Lord, and said,
“Lord, why have you caused trouble for this peo-
ple? Why did you ever send me? 5:3 From the
time I went to speak to Pharaoh in your name, he
has caused trouble for this people, and you have
 tn Heb “in the eyes of his servants.” This phrase is not
repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
 tn Heb “to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” The infini-
tive construct with the lamed (ת ֶת ָל, latet) signifies the result
(“so that”) ofmaking the people stink. Their reputation is now
so bad that Pharaohmight gladly put them to death. The next
infinitive could also be understood as expressing result: “put
a sword in their hand so that they can kill us.”
 sn In view of the apparent failure of the mission, Moses
seeks Yahweh for assurance. The answer from Yahweh not
only assures him that all is well, but that there will be a great
deliverance. The passage can be divided into three parts: the
complaint ofMoses (5:22-23), the promise of Yahweh (6:1-9),
and the instructions for Moses (6:10-13). Moses complains
because God has not delivered his people as he had said he
would, and God answers that he will because he is the sov-
ereign covenant God who keeps his word. Therefore, Moses
must keep his commission to speak God’s word. See further,
E. A. Martens, “Tackling Old Testament Theology,” JETS 20
(1977): 123-32. The message is very similar to that found in
the NT, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Pet 3:4).
The complaint ofMoses (5:22-23) can bewordedwith Peter’s
“Where is the promise of his coming?” theme; the assurance
from Yahweh (6:1-9) can be worded with Peter’s “The Lord is
not slack in keeping his promises” (2 Pet 3:9); and the third
part, the instructions forMoses (6:10-13) can be worded with
Peter’s “Prepare for the day of God and speed its coming” (2
Pet 3:12). The people who speak for God must do so in the
sure confidence of the coming deliverance – Moses with the
deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and Christians with
the deliverance from this sinful world.
 tn Heb “andMoses returned.”
 tn The designation in Moses’ address is “Lord” (י ָנ ֹד ֲא,
’adonay) – the term for “lord” or “master” but pointed as it
would be when it represents the tetragrammaton.
 tn The verb is ה ָת ֹע ֵר ֲה (hare’otah), the Hiphil perfect of ע ַע ָר
(ra’a’). The word itselfmeans “to do evil,” and in this stem “to
cause evil” – but evil in the sense of pain, calamity, trouble,
or affliction, and not always in the sense of sin. Certainly not
here. That God had allowed Pharaoh to oppose them had
brought greater pain to the Israelites.
snMoses’ question is rhetorical; the point ismore of a com-
plaint or accusation toGod, although there is in it the desire to
know why. B. Jacob (Exodus, 139) comments that such frank
words were a sign of the man’s closeness to God. God never
has objected to such bold complaints by the devout. He then
notes how God was angered by his defenders in the book of
Job rather than by Job’s heated accusations.
 tn The demonstrative pronoun serves for emphasis in the
question (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118). This
second question continues Moses’ bold approach to God,
more chiding than praying. He is implying that if this was the
result of the call, then God had no purpose calling him (com-
pare Jeremiah’s similar complaint in Jer 20).
 sn Now the verb (ע ַר ֵה, hera’) has a different subject – Pha-
raoh. The ultimate cause of the trouble was God, but the im-
mediate cause was Pharaoh and the way he increased the
work. Meanwhile, the Israelite foremen have pinned most of
the blame on Moses and Aaron. Moses knows all about the
sovereignty of God, and as he speaks in God’s name, he sees
the effect it has on pagans like Pharaoh. So the rhetorical
questions are designed to prod God to act differently.
certainly not rescued them!”0
6:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you
will see what I will do to Pharaoh, for compelled
by my strong hand he will release them, and
by my strong hand he will drive them out of his
6: God spoke to Moses and said to him,
“I am the Lord. 6:3 I appeared to Abraham, to
 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic: ָ ּת ְל ַ ּצ ִה־א ֹל ל ֵ ּצ ַה ְו
(vÿhatsel lo’-hitsalta). The verb ל ַצ ָנ (natsal) means “to deliver,
rescue” in the sense of plucking out, even plundering. The in-
finitive absolute strengthens both the idea of the verb and the
negative. God had not delivered this people at all.
0 tn Heb “your people.” The pronoun (“them”) has been
used in the translation for stylistic reasons here, to avoid re-
 sn The expression “I will do to Pharaoh” always refers to
the plagues. God would first show his sovereignty over Pha-
raoh before defeating him.
 tn The expression “with a strong hand” (ה ָק ָז ֲח ד ָי ְב ּו, uvÿyad
khazaqah) could refer (1) to God’s powerful intervention
(“compelled by my strong hand”) or (2) to Pharaoh’s forceful
pursuit (“he will forcefully drive them out”). In Exod 3:20 God
has summarized what his hand would do in Egypt, and that is
probably what is intended here, as he promises that Moses
will see what God will do. All Egypt ultimately desired that Is-
rael be released (12:33), and when they were released Pha-
raoh pursued them to the sea, and so in a sense drove them
out – whether that was his intention or not. But ultimately it
was God’s power that was the real force behind it all. U. Cas-
suto (Exodus, 74) considers that it is unlikely that the phrase
would be used in the same verse twice with the same mean-
ing. So he thinks that the first “strong hand” is God’s, and the
second “strong hand” is Pharaoh’s. It is true that if Pharaoh
acted forcefully in any way that contributed to Israel leaving
Egypt itwas because Godwas acting forcefully in his life. So in
an understated way, God is saying that when forced by God’s
strong hand, Pharaoh will indeed release God’s people.”
 tn Or “and he will forcefully drive them out of his land,” if
the second occurrence of “strong hand” refers to Pharaoh’s
rather than God’s (see the previous note).
sn In Exod 12:33 the Egyptians were eager to send (re-
lease) Israel away in haste, because they all thought they
were going to die.
 tn Heb “And God spoke.”
 sn The announcement “I am the Lord” (Heb “Yahweh”)
draws in the preceding revelation in Exod 3:15. In that place
God called Moses to this task and explained the significance
of the name “Yahweh” by the enigmatic expression “I am that
I am.” “I am” (ה ֶי ְה ֶא, ’ehyeh) is not a name; “Yahweh” is. But the
explanation of the name with this sentence indicates that
Yahweh is the one who is always there, and that guarantees
the future, for everything he does is consistent with his na-
ture. He is eternal, never changing; he remains. Now, in Exo-
dus 6, the meaning of the name “Yahweh” will be more fully
131 exodus 6:3
Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by
my name ‘the Lord’ I was not known to them.
 tn The preposition bet (ב) in this construction should be
classified as a bet essentiae, a bet of essence (see also GKC
379 §119.i).
 tn The traditional rendering of the title as “Almighty” is re-
flected in LXX and Jerome. But there is still little agreement
on the etymology and exact meaning of י ַ ּד ַשׁ ־ל ֵא (’el-shad-
day). Suggestions have included the idea of “mountain God,”
meaning the high God, as well as “the God with breasts.” But
there is very little evidence supporting such conclusions and
notmuch reason to question the ancient versions.
 tn The noun י ִמ ְשׁ (shÿmi, “my name,” and “Yahweh” in ap-
position to it), is an adverbial accusative, specifying how the
patriarchs “knew” him.
 tn Heb “Yahweh,” traditionally rendered in English as “the
Lord.” The phrase has been placed in quotation marks in the
translation to indicate it represents the tetragrammaton.
 tn The verb is the Niphal form י ִ ּת ְע ַד ֹונ (noda’ti). If the text
had wanted to say, “I did not make myself known,” then a Hi-
phil form would have been more likely. It is saying, “but by my
name Yahweh I was not known to them.”
sn There are a number of important issues that need clari-
fication in the interpretation of this section. First, it is impor-
tant to note that “I am Yahweh” is not a new revelation of a
previously unknown name. It would be introduced differently
if it were. This is the identification of the covenant God as the
one calling Moses – that would be proof for the people that
their God had called him. Second, the title “El Shadday” is not
a name, but a title. It is true that in the patriarchal accounts
“El Shadday” is used six times; in Job it is used thirty times.
Many conclude that it does reflect the idea ofmight or power.
In some of those passages that reveal God as “El Shadday,”
the name “Yahweh” was also used. But Wellhausen and oth-
er proponents of the earlier source critical analysis used Exod
6:3 to say that P, the so-called priestly source, was aware that
the name “Yahweh” was not known by them, even though J,
the supposed Yahwistic source, wrote using the name as part
of his theology. Third, the texts of Genesis show that Yahweh
had appeared to the patriarchs (Gen 12:1, 17:1, 18:1, 26:2,
26:24, 26:12, 35:1, 48:3), and that he spoke to each one of
them (Gen 12:7, 15:1, 26:2, 28:13, 31:3). The name “Yah-
weh” occurs 162 times in Genesis, 34 of those times on the
lips of speakers in Genesis (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC
2:340-41). They alsomade proclamation of Yahweh by name
(4:26, 12:8), and they named places with the name (22:14).
These passages should not be ignored or passed off as later
interpretation. Fourth, “Yahweh” is revealed as the God of
power, the sovereign God, who was true to his word and could
be believed.Hewould do as he said (Num 23:19; 14:35; Exod
12:25; 22:24; 24:14; 36:36; 37:14). Fifth, there is a differ-
ence between promise and fulfillment in the way revelation is
apprehended. The patriarchs were individuals who received
the promises but without the fulfillment. The fulfillment could
only come after the Israelites became a nation. Now, in Egypt,
they are ready to become that promised nation. The two pe-
riods were not distinguished by not having and by having the
name, but by two ways God revealed the significance of his
name. “I am Yahweh” to the patriarchs indicated that he was
the absolute, almighty, eternal God. The patriarchs were indi-
viduals sojourning in the land. God appeared to them in the
significance of El Shadday. That was not his name. So Gen
17:1 says that “Yahweh appeared…and said, ‘I am El Shad-
day.’” See also Gen 35:11, 48:2, 28:3. Sixth, the verb “to
know” is never used to introduce a name which had never
been known or experienced. The Niphal and Hiphil of the verb
are used only to describe the recognition of the overtones or
significance of the name (see Jer 16:21, Isa 52:6; Ps 83:17ff;
1 Kgs 8:41ff. [people will know his name when prayers are
answered]). For someone to say that he knew Yahwehmeant
that Yahweh had been experienced or recognized (see
Exod 33:6; 1 Kgs 18:36; Jer 28:9; and Ps 76:2). Seventh,
6:4 I also established my covenant with them to
give them the land of Canaan, where they were
living as resident foreigners. 6:5 I have also
heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the
Egyptians are enslaving,0 and I have remem-
“Yahweh” is not one of God’s names – it is his only name. Oth-
er titles, like “El Shadday,” are not strictly names but means
of revealing Yahweh. All the revelations to the patriarchs could
not compare to this one, because God was now dealing with
the nation. He would make his name known to them through
his deeds (see Ezek 20:5). So now they will “know” the
“name.” The verb ע ַד ָי (yada’) means more than “aware of, be
knowledgeable about”; itmeans “to experience” the reality of
the revelation by that name. This harmonizes with the usage
of ם ֵשׁ (shem), “name,” which encompasses all the attributes
and actions of God. It is not simply a reference to a title, but
to the way that God revealed himself – God gave meaning to
his name through his acts. God is not saying that he had not
revealed a name to the patriarchs (that would have used the
Hiphil of the verb). Rather, he is saying that the patriarchs did
not experience what the name Yahweh actually meant, and
they could not without seeing it fulfilled. When Moses came
to the elders, he identified his call as from Yahweh, the God
of the fathers – and they accepted him. They knew the name.
But, when they were delivered from bondage, then they fully
knew by experience what that name meant, for his promises
were fulfilled. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 79) paraphrases it thisway:
“I revealedMyself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob inMy aspect
that finds expression in the name Shaddai…I was not known
to them, that is, it was not given to them to recognize Me as
One that fulfils his promises.” This generation was about to
“know” the name that their ancestors knew and used, but
never experienced with the fulfillment of the promises. This
section of Exodus confirms this interpretation, because in it
God promised to bring them out of Egypt and give them the
promised land – then they would know that he is Yahweh
(6:7). This meaning should have been evident from its repeti-
tion to the Egyptians throughout the plagues – that theymight
know Yahweh (e.g., 7:5). See further R. D. Wilson, “Yahweh
[Jehovah] and Exodus 6:3,” Classical Evangelical Essays in
Old Testament Interpretation, 29-40; L. A. Herrboth, “Exodus
6:3b: Was God Known to the Patriarchs as Jehovah?” CTM 4
(1931): 345-49; F. C. Smith, “Observation on the Use of the
Names and Titles of God in Genesis,” EvQ 40 (1968): 103-9.
 tn The statement refers to the making of the covenant
with Abraham (Gen 15 and following) and confirming it with
the other patriarchs. The verb י ִת ֹמ ִק ֲה (haqimoti) means “set
up, establish, give effect to, conclude” a covenant agreement.
The covenant promised the patriarchs a great nation, a land –
Canaan, and divine blessing. They lived with those promises,
but now their descendants were in bondage in Egypt. God’s
reference to the covenant here ismeant to show the new rev-
elation through redemption will start to fulfill the promises
and show what the reality of the name Yahweh is to them.
 tn Heb “the land of their sojournings.” The noun םי ִר ֻג ְמ
(mÿgurim) is a reminder that the patriarchs did not receive
the promises. It is also an indication that those living in the
age of promise did not experience the full meaning of the
name of the covenant God. The “land of their sojournings” is
the land of Canaan where the family lived ( ּור ּג, garu) as for-
eigners, without owning property or having the rights of kin-
ship with the surrounding population.
 tn The addition of the independent pronoun י ִנ ֲא (’ani, “I”)
emphasizes the fact that it was Yahweh himself who heard
the cry.
 tn Heb “And also I have heard.”
0 tn The form is the Hiphil participle םי ִד ִב ֲע ַמ (ma’avidim,
“causing to serve”). The participle occurs in a relative clause
that modifies “the Israelites.” The clause ends with the ac-
cusative “them,” which must be combined with the relative
pronoun for a smooth English translation. So “who the Egyp-
tians are enslaving them,” results in the translation “whom
the Egyptians are enslaving.”
exodus 6:4 13
bered my covenant. 6:6 Therefore, tell the Isra-
elites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out from
your enslavement to the Egyptians, I will rescue
you from the hard labor they impose, and I will
redeem you with an outstretched arm and with
great judgments. 6:7 I will take you to myself for
a people, and I will be your God. Then you will
know that I am the Lord your God, who brought
you out from your enslavement to the Egyptians.
6:8 I will bring you to the land I swore to give to
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob – and Iwill give it
to you as a possession. I am the Lord!’”
6:9 Moses told this0 to the Israelites, but
they did not listen to him because of their dis-
couragement and hard labor. 6:10 Then the
Lord said to Moses, 6:11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king
 tn As in Exod 2:24, this remembering has the significance
of God’s beginning to act to fulfill the covenant promises.
 sn The verb י ִתא ֵצ ֹוה ְו (vÿhotse’ti) is a perfect tense with the
vav (ו) consecutive, and so it receives a future translation –
part of God’s promises. The word will be used later to begin
the Decalogue and other covenant passages – “I am Yahweh
who brought you out….”
 tn Heb “from under the burdens of” (so KJV, NASB); NIV
“from under the yoke of.”
 tn Heb “from labor of them.” The antecedent of the pro-
noun is the Egyptians who have imposed slave labor on the
 sn These covenant promises are being reiterated here be-
cause they are about to be fulfilled. They are addressed to
the nation, not individuals, as the plural suffixes show. Yah-
weh was their God already, because they had been praying
to him and he is acting on their behalf. When they enter into
covenant with God at Sinai, then he will be the God of Israel in
a new way (19:4-6; cf. Gen 17:7-8; 28:20-22; Lev 26:11-12;
Jer 24:7; Ezek 11:17-20).
 tn Heb “from under the burdens of” (so KJV, NASB); NIV
“from under the yoke of.”
 tn Heb “which I raised my hand to give it.” The relative
clause specifies which land is their goal. The bold anthropo-
morphism mentions part of an oath-taking ceremony to refer
to the whole event and reminds the reader that God swore
that he would give the land to them. The reference to taking
an oath would have made the promise of God sure in the
mind of the Israelite.
 sn Here is the twofold aspect again clearly depicted: God
swore the promise to the patriarchs, but he is about to give
what he promised to this generation. This generation will
knowmore about him as a result.
 sn The final part of this section focuses on instructions
for Moses. The commission from God is the same – he is to
speak to Pharaoh and he is to lead Israel out. It should have
been clear to him that God would do this, for he had just been
reminded how God was going to lead out, deliver, redeem,
take the people as his people, and give them land. It was
God’s work of love from beginning to end. Moses simply had
his task to perform.
0 tn Heb “andMoses spoke thus.”
 tn Heb “to Moses.” The proper name has been replaced
by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
 tn The Hebrew ַח ּור ר ֶ ּצ ֹ ּק ִמ (miqqotser ruakh) means “be-
cause of the shortness of spirit.” This means that they were
discouraged, dispirited, and weary – although some have
also suggested it might mean impatient. The Israelites were
now just not in the frame ofmind to listen toMoses.
of Egypt that he must release the Israelites from
his land.” 6:1 But Moses replied to the Lord,
“If the Israelites did not listen to me, then how
will Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with dif-
6:13 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron
and gave them a charge for the Israelites and
Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out
of the land of Egypt.
The Ancestry of the Deliverer
6:140 These are the heads of their fathers’
The sons of Reuben, the firstborn son of Is-
rael, were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
These were the clans of Reuben.
6:15 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin,
Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Ca-
naanite woman. These were the clans of Simeon.
 tn The form ח ַ ּל ַשׁ י ִו (vishallakh) is the Piel imperfect or jus-
sive with a sequential vav; following an imperative it gives the
imperative’s purpose and intended result. They are to speak
to Pharaoh, and (so that as a result) he will release Israel. Af-
ter the command to speak, however, the second clause also
indirectly states the content of the speech (cf. Exod 11:2;
14:2, 15; 25:2; Lev 16:2; 22:2). As the next verse shows,Mo-
ses doubts that what he says will have the intended effect.
 tn Heb “AndMoses spoke before.”
 sn This analogy is an example of a qal wahomer compari-
son. It is an argument by inference from the light (qal) to the
heavy (homer), from the simple to the more difficult. If the Is-
raelites, who are Yahwists, would not listen to him, it is highly
unlikely Pharaoh would.
 tn The final clause begins with a disjunctive vav (ו), a vav
on a nonverb form – here a pronoun. It introduces a circum-
stantial causal clause.
 tnHeb “and [since] I am of uncircumcised lips.” The “lips”
represent his speech (metonymy of cause). The term “uncir-
cumcised”makes a comparison between his speech and that
which Israel perceived as unacceptable, unprepared, foreign,
and of no use to God. The heart is described this way when it
is impervious to good impressions (Lev 26:41; Jer 9:26) and
the ear when it hears imperfectly (Jer 6:10). Moses has here
returned to his earlier claim – he does not speak well enough
to be doing this.
 tn Heb “And Yahweh spoke.”
 tn The term ם ֵ ּו ַצ ְי ַו (vayÿtsavvem) is a Piel preterite with a
pronominal suffix on it. The verb ה ָו ָצ (tsavah) means “to com-
mand” but can also have amuch wider range ofmeanings. In
this short summary statement, the idea of giving Moses and
Aaron a commission to Israel and to Pharaoh indicates that
come whatmay they have their duty to perform.
0 sn This list of names shows that Moses and Aaron are
in the line of Levi that came to the priesthood. It helps to
identify them and authenticate them as spokesmen for God
within the larger history of Israel. As N. M. Sarna observes,
“Because a genealogy inherently symbolizes vigor and conti-
nuity, its presence here also injects a reassuring note into the
otherwise despondentmood” (Exodus [JPSTC], 33).
 tn The expression is literally “the house of their fathers.”
This expressionmeans that the household or family descend-
ed from a single ancestor. It usually indicates a subdivision of
a tribe, that is, a clan, or the subdivision of a clan, that is, a
family. Here it refers to a clan (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 46).
 tn Or “descendants.”
 tn Or “families,” and so throughout the genealogy.
133 exodus 6:15
6:16 Now these are the names of the sons of
Levi, according to their records: Gershon, Ko-
hath, and Merari. (The length of Levi’s life was
137 years.)
6:17 The sons of Gershon, by their families,
were Libni and Shimei.
6:18 The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar,
Hebron, and Uzziel. (The length of Kohath’s life
was 133 years.)
6:19 The sons of Merari were Mahli and
Mushi. These were the clans of Levi, according to
their records.
6:0 Amram married his father’s sister Jo-
chebed, and she bore himAaron and Moses. (The
length ofAmram’s life was 137 years.)
6:1 The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg,
and Zikri.
6: The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elza-
phan, and Sithri.
6:3 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of
Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore
him Nadab andAbihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
6:4 The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah,
andAbiasaph. These were the Korahite clans.
6:5 Now Eleazar son of Aaron married one
of the daughters of Putiel and she bore him Phine-
These are the heads of the fathers’households
of Levi according to their clans.
6:6 Itwas the sameAaron andMoses towhom
the Lord said, “Bring the Israelites out of the land
of Egypt by their regiments.” 6:7 They were the
menwhowere speaking to Pharaoh king of Egypt,
in order to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. It was
the sameMoses andAaron.
The Authentication of the Word
6:8 When the Lord spoke to Moses in the
land of Egypt, 6:9 he said to him, “I am the Lord.
 tn Or “generations.”
 tn Heb “took for a wife” (also in vv. 23, 25).
 tn Heb “heads of the fathers” is taken as an abbreviation
for the description of “households” in v. 14.
 tn Or “by their hosts” or “by their armies.” Often translat-
ed “hosts” (ASV, NASB) or “armies” (KJV), ת ֹוא ָב ְצ (tsÿva’ot) is a
military term that portrays the people of God in battle array. In
contemporary English, “regiment” is perhaps more easily un-
derstood as a force for battle than “company” (cf. NAB, NRSV)
or “division” (NIV, NCV, NLT), both of which can have commer-
cial associations. The term also implies an orderly departure.
 sn From here on the confrontation between Yahweh and
Pharaoh will intensify until Pharaoh is destroyed. The empha-
sis at this point, though, is on Yahweh’s instructions for Mo-
ses to speak to Pharaoh. The first section (6:28-7:7) ends (v.
6) with the notice that Moses and Aaron did just as (ר ֶשׁ ֲא ַ ּכ,
ka’asher) Yahweh had commanded them; the second section
(7:8-13) ends with the note that Pharaoh refused to listen,
just as (ר ֶשׁ ֲא ַ ּכ) Yahweh had said would be the case.
 tn The beginning of this temporal clause does not follow
the normal pattern of using the preterite of the main verb af-
ter the temporal indicator and prepositional phrase, but in-
stead uses a perfect tense following the noun in construct:
ר ֶ ּב ִ ּד ם ֹוי ְ ּב י ִה ְי ַו (vayÿhi bÿyom dibber). See GKC 422 §130.d. This
verse introduces a summary (vv. 28-30) of the conversation
that was interrupted when the genealogy began.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke to Moses saying.” This has
Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I am telling0
you.” 6:30ButMoses said before the Lord, “Since
I speakwith difficulty,why should Pharaoh listen
to me?”
7:1 So the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have
made you like God to Pharaoh, and your
brother Aaron will be your prophet. 7: You
are to speak everything I command you,
and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh that
he must release the Israelites from his land.
7:3But IwillhardenPharaoh’sheart,andalthough
been simplified in the translation as “he said to him” for sty-
listic reasons.
 tn The verb is ר ֵ ּב ַ ּד (dabber), the Piel imperative. It would
normally be translated “speak,” but in English that verb does
not sound as natural with a direct object as “tell.”
 tn The clause begins with ר ֶשׁ ֲא־ל ָ ּכ ת ֵא (’et kol-’asher) indi-
cating that this is a noun clause functioning as the direct ob-
ject of the imperative and providing the content of the com-
manded speech.
0 tn ר ֵב ֹ ּד (dover) is the Qal active participle; it functions here
as the predicate in the noun clause: “that I [am] telling you.”
This one could be rendered, “that I am speaking to you.”
 tn See note on Exod 6:12.
 tn The word “like” is added for clarity,making explicit the
implied comparison in the statement “I have made you God
to Pharaoh.” The word םי ִה ֹל ֱא (’elohim) is used a few times in
the Bible for humans (e.g., Pss 45:6; 82:1), and always clearly
in the sense of a subordinate to GOD – they are his represen-
tatives on earth. The explanation here goes back to 4:16. If
Moses is like God in that Aaron is his prophet, then Moses
is certainly like God to Pharaoh. Only Moses, then, is able to
speak to Pharaoh with such authority, giving him commands.
 tn Theword ָך ֶאי ִב ְנ (nÿvi’ekha, “your prophet”) recalls 4:16.
Moses was to be like God to Aaron, and Aaron was to speak
for him. This indicates that the idea of a “prophet” was of one
who spoke for God, an idea with whichMoses and Aaron and
the readers of Exodus are assumed to be familiar.
 tn The imperfect tense here should have the nuance of
instruction or injunction: “you are to speak.” The subject is
singular (Moses) and made emphatic by the presence of the
personal pronoun “you.”
 tn The phrase translated “everything I command you” is
a noun clause serving as the direct object of the verb “speak.”
The verb in the clause ( ָך ֶ ּו ַצ ֲא, ’atsavvekha) is the Piel imperfect.
It could be classified as a future: “everything that I will com-
mand you.” A nuance of progressive imperfect also fits well:
“everything that I am commanding you.”
sn The distinct emphasis is important. Aaron will speak to
the people and PharaohwhatMoses tells him, andMoseswill
speak to Aaron what God commands him. The use of “com-
mand” keeps everything in perspective forMoses’ position.
 tn The form is ח ַ ּל ִשׁ ְו (vÿshillakh), a Piel perfect with vav
(ו) consecutive. Following the imperfects of injunction or in-
struction, this verb continues the sequence. It could be taken
as equal to an imperfect expressing future (“and he will re-
lease”) or subordinate to express purpose (“to release” = “in
order that hemay release”).
 tn The clause begins with the emphatic use of the pro-
noun and a disjunctive vav (ו) expressing the contrast “But as
forme, I will harden.” They will speak, but God will harden.
sn The imperfect tense of the verb ה ָשׁ ָק (qasha) is found only
here in these “hardening passages.” The verb (here the Hiphil
for “I will harden”) summarizes Pharaoh’s resistance to what
God would be doing through Moses – he would stubbornly
resist and refuse to submit; he would be resolved in his oppo-
sition. See R. R. Wilson, “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart,”
CBQ 41 (1979): 18-36.
exodus 6:16 134
I will multiply my signs and my wonders in the
land of Egypt, 7:4 Pharaoh will not listen to you.
I will reach into Egypt and bring out my regi-
ments, my people the Israelites, from the land of
Egypt with great acts of judgment. 7:5 Then the
Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I
extend my hand over Egypt and bring the Israel-
ites out from among them.
7:6AndMoses andAaron did so; they did just
as the Lord commanded them. 7:7 Now Moses
was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three
years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.
7:8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,
7:9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do a mir-
acle,’ and you say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff
and throw it down0 before Pharaoh,’ it will be-
come a snake.” 7:10 When Moses and Aaron
went to Pharaoh, they did so, just as the Lord
had commanded them – Aaron threw down
his staff before Pharaoh and his servants and it
became a snake. 7:11 Then Pharaoh also sum-
 tn The form beginning the second half of the verse is
the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, י ִתי ֵ ּב ְר ִה (hirbeti). It
could be translated as a simple future in sequence after the
imperfect preceding it, but the logical connection is not obvi-
ous. Since it carries the force of an imperfect due to the se-
quence, it may be subordinated as a temporal clause to the
next clause that begins in v. 4. That maintains the flow of the
 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will not listen.”
 tn Heb “put my hand into.” The expression is a strong an-
thropomorphism to depict God’s severest judgment on Egypt.
The point is that neither the speeches of Moses and Aaron
nor the signs that God would do will be effective. Consequent-
ly, God would deliver the blow that would destroy.
 tn See the note on this term in 6:26.
 tn The emphasis on sequence is clear because the form
is the perfect tense with the vav consecutive.
sn The use of the verb “to know” (ע ַד ָי, yada’) underscores
what was said with regard to 6:3. By the time the actual exo-
dus took place, the Egyptians would have “known” the name
Yahweh, probably hearing it more than they wished. But they
will know – experience the truth of it – when Yahweh defeats
 sn This is another anthropomorphism, parallel to the pre-
ceding. If God were to “put” (ן ַת ָנ, natan), “extend” (ה ָט ָנ, nata),
or “reach out” (ח ַל ָשׁ , shalakh) his hand against them, they
would be destroyed. Contrast Exod 24:11.
 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
 tn Heb “said toMoses and Aaron, saying.”
 tn The verb is ּונ ְ ּת (tÿnu), literally “give.” The imperative is
followed by an ethical dative that strengthens the subject of
the imperative: “you give amiracle.”
0 tn Heb “and throw it.” The direct object, “it,” is implied.
 tn The form is the jussive י ִה ְי ( yÿhi). Gesenius notes that
frequently in a conditional clause, a sentence with a protasis
and apodosis, the jussive will be used. Here it is in the apodo-
sis (GKC 323 §109.h).
 tn The clause begins with the preterite and the vav (ו)
consecutive; it is here subordinated to the next clause as a
temporal clause.
 tn Heb “and Aaron threw.”
 tn The noun used here is ןי ִ ּנ ַ ּת (tannin), and not the word
for “serpent” or “snake” used in chap. 4. This noun refers to
a large reptile, in some texts large river or sea creatures (Gen
1:21; Ps 74:13) or land creatures (Deut 32:33). This wonder
paralleledMoses’miracle in 4:3 when he cast his staff down.
But this is Aaron’s staff, and a different miracle. The noun
could still be rendered “snake” here since the term could be
broad enough to include it.
moned wise men and sorcerers, and the magi-
cians of Egypt by their secret arts did the same
thing. 7:1 Each man threw down his staff, and
the staffs became snakes. But Aaron’s staff swal-
lowed up their staffs. 7:13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart be-
came hard, and he did not listen to them, just as
the Lord had predicted.
The First Blow: Water to Blood
7:140 The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s
heart is hard; he refuses to release the people.
7:15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning when he
 sn For information on this Egyptian material, see D. B.
Redford, A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (VTSup), 203-
 tn The םי ִ ּמ ֻ ּט ְר ַח (kharttummim) seem to have been the
keepers of Egypt’s religious and magical texts, the sacred
 tn The term ם ֶהי ֵט ֲה ַל ְ ּב (bÿlahatehem) means “by their se-
cret arts”; it is from ט ּול (lut, “to enwrap”). The Greek renders
the word “by their magic”; Tg. Onq. uses “murmurings” and
“whispers,” and other Jewish sources “dazzling display” or
“demons” (see further B. Jacob, Exodus, 253-54). They may
have done this by clever tricks, manipulation of the animals,
or demonic power. Many have suggested that Aaron and the
magicians were familiar with an old trick in which they could
temporarily paralyze a serpent and then revive it. But here
Aaron’s snake swallows up their snakes.
 tn The verb is plural, but the subject is singular, “aman –
his staff.” This noun can be given a distributive sense: “each
man threw down his staff.”
 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word ק ַז ָח (khazaq);
see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
sn For more on this subject, see B. Jacob, Exodus, 241-49.
S. R. Driver (Exodus, 53) notes that when this word (ק ַז ָח) is
used it indicates a will or attitude that is unyielding and firm,
but when ד ֵב ָ ּכ (kaved) is used, it stresses the will as being slow
tomove, unimpressionable, slow to be affected.
0 sn With the first plague, or blow on Pharaoh, a new sec-
tion of the book unfolds. Until now the dominant focus has
been on preparing the deliverer for the exodus. From here
the account will focus on preparing Pharaoh for it. The theo-
logical emphasis for exposition of the entire series of plagues
may be: The sovereign Lord is fully able to deliver his people
from the oppression of the world so that they may worship
and serve him alone. The distinct idea of each plague then
will contribute to thismain idea. It is clear from the outset that
God could have delivered his people simply and suddenly. But
he chose to draw out the process with the series of plagues.
There appear to be several reasons: First, the plagues are
designed to judge Egypt. It is justice for slavery. Second, the
plagues are designed to inform Israel and Egypt of the abil-
ity of Yahweh. Everyone must know that it is Yahweh doing
all these things. The Egyptians must know this before they
are destroyed. Third, the plagues are designed to deliver Is-
rael. The first plague is the plague of blood: God has abso-
lute power over the sources of life. Here Yahweh strikes the
heart of Egyptian life with death and corruption. The lesson is
that God can turn the source of life into the prospect of death.
Moreover, the Nile was venerated; so by turning it into death
Moses was showing the superiority of Yahweh.
 tn Or “unresponsive” (so HALOT 456 s.v. I ד ֵב ָ ּכ).
 tn The Piel infinitive construct ח ַ ּל ַשׁ ְל (lÿshallakh) serves as
the direct object of ן ֵא ֵמ (me’en), telling what Pharaoh refuses
(characteristic perfect) to do. The whole clause is an explana-
tion (like a metonymy of effect) of the first clause that states
that Pharaoh’s heart is hard.
 tn The clause begins with ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh); here it provides
the circumstances for the instruction for Moses – he is going
out to the water so go meet him. A temporal clause transla-
tion captures the connection between the clauses.
135 exodus 7:15
goes out to the water. Position yourself to meet
him by the edge of theNile, and take in your hand
the staff that was turned into a snake. 7:16 Tell
him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has
sent me to you to say, “Release my people, that
they may serve me in the desert!” But until now
you have not listened. 7:17 Thus says the Lord:
“By this you will know that I am the Lord: I am
going to strike the water of the Nile with the staff
that is inmy hand, and itwill be turned into blood.0
 tn The instruction to Moses continues with this perfect
tense with vav (ו) consecutive following the imperative. The
verb means “to take a stand, station oneself.” It seems that
Pharaoh’s going out to the water was a regular feature of his
day and thatMoses could be there waiting tomeet him.
 sn The Nile, the source of fertility for the country, was dei-
fied by the Egyptians. There were religious festivals held to
the god of the Nile, especially when the Nile was flooding. The
Talmud suggests that Pharaoh in this passagewent out to the
Nile to make observations as a magician about its level. Oth-
ers suggest he went out simply to bathe or to check the water
level – but that would not change the view of the Nile that was
prevalent in the land.
 tn The verb ח ַ ּק ִ ּת (tiqqakh), the Qal imperfect of ח ַק ָל (laqa-
kh), functions here as the imperfect of instruction, or injunc-
tion perhaps, given the word order of the clause.
 tn The final clause begins with the noun and vav disjunc-
tive, which singles this instruction out for special attention
– “now the staff…you are to take.”
 tn The form ר ֹמא ֵל (le’mor) is the Qal infinitive construct
with the lamed (ל) preposition. It is used so often epexegeti-
cally that it has achieved idiomatic status – “saying” (if trans-
lated at all). But here it would make better sense to take it as
a purpose infinitive. God sent him to say these words.
 tn The imperfect tense with the vav (י ִנ ֻד ְב ַע ַי ְו, vÿya’avduni)
following the imperative is in volitive sequence, showing the
purpose – “that they may serve me.” The word “serve” (ד ַב ָע,
’avad) is a general term to include religious observance and
 tn The final ה ֹ ּכ־ד ַע (’ad-koh, “until now”) narrows the use
of the perfect tense to the present perfect: “you have not lis-
tened.” That verb, however, involves more than than mere
audition. It has the idea of responding to, hearkening, and
in some places obeying; here “you have not complied” might
catch the point of what Moses is saying, while “listen” helps
tomaintain the connection with other uses of the verb.
 tn Or “complied” ( ָ ּת ְע ַמ ָשׁ , shama’ta).
 tn The construction using ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) before the partici-
ple (here the Hiphil participle ה ֶ ּכ ַמ,makkeh) introduces a futur
instans use of the participle, expressing imminent future, that
he is about to do something.
0 sn W. C. Kaiser summarizes a view that has been ad-
opted by many scholars, including a good number of conser-
vatives, that the plagues overlap with natural phenomena in
Egypt. Accordingly, the “blood” would not be literal blood, but
a reddish contamination in the water. If there was an unusu-
ally high inundation of the Nile, the water flowed sluggishly
through swamps and was joined with the water from the
mountains that washed out the reddish soil. If the flood were
high, the water would have a deeper red color. In addition to
this discoloration, there is said to be a type of algae which
produce a stench and a deadly fluctuation of the oxygen level
of the river that is fatal to fish (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,”
EBC 2:350; he cites Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW
69 [1957]: 84-103; same title, ZAW 70 [1958]: 48-59).While
7:18 Fish in the Nile will die, the Nile will stink,
and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water
from the Nile.”’” 7:19 Then the Lord said to Mo-
ses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out
your hand over Egypt’s waters – over their riv-
ers, over their canals, over their ponds, and over
all their reservoirs – so that it becomes blood.’
There will be blood everywhere in the land of
Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.”
7:0 Moses and Aaron did so, just as the Lord
had commanded. Moses raised the staff and
struck the water that was in the Nile right be-
fore the eyes0 of Pharaoh and his servants, and
all the water that was in the Nile was turned to
most scholars would agree that the water did not actually
become blood (any more than the moon will be turned to lit-
eral blood [Joel 2:31]),many are not satisfied with this kind of
explanation. If the event was a fairly common feature of the
Nile, it would not have been any kind of sign to Pharaoh – and
it should still be observable. The features that would have to
be safeguarded are that it was understood to be done by the
staff of God, that it was unexpected and not a mere coinci-
dence, and that the magnitude of the contamination, color,
stench, and death, was unparalleled. God does use natural
features in miracles, but to be miraculous signs they cannot
simply coincide with natural phenomena.
 tn The definite article here has the generic use, indicating
the class – “fish” (R. J.Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 19, §92).
 tn The verb ה ָא ָל (la’a), here in the Niphal perfect with a
vav consecutive, means “be weary, impatient.” The Niphal
meaning is “make oneself weary” in doing something, or
“weary (strenuously exert) oneself.” It seems always to indi-
cate exhausted patience (see BDB 521 s.v.). The term seems
to imply that the Egyptians were not able to drink the red, con-
taminated water, and so would expend all their energy look-
ing for water to drink – in frustration of course.
 tn Or “irrigation rivers” of the Nile.
 sn The Hebrew term means “gathering,” i.e., wherever
they gathered or collected waters, notably cisterns and reser-
voirs. This would naturally lead to the inclusion of both wood-
en and stone vessels – down to the smallest gatherings.
 tn The imperfect tense with vav (ו) after the imperative in-
dicates the purpose or result: “in order that they [the waters]
be[come] blood.”
 tn Or “in all.”
 sn Both Moses and Aaron had tasks to perform. Moses,
being the “god” to Pharaoh, dealt directly with him and the
Nile. He would strike the Nile. But Aaron, “his prophet,” would
stretch out the staff over the rest of the waters of Egypt.
 tn Heb “And he raised”; the referent (Moses) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn Gesenius calls the preposition on “staff” the ְ ּב (bet) in-
strumenti, used to introduce the object (GKC 380-81 §119.
q). This construction provides a greater emphasis than an ac-
0 tn The text could be rendered “in the sight of,” or simply
“before,” but the literal idea of “before the eyes of”may stress
how obvious the event was and how personally they were wit-
nesses of it.
 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 98) notes that the striking of the
water was not a magical act. It signified two things: (1) the
beginning of the sign, which was in accordance with God’s
will, as Moses had previously announced, and (2) to symbol-
ize actual “striking,” wherewith the Lord strikes Egypt and its
gods (see v. 25).
exodus 7:16 136
blood. 7:1 When the fish that were in the Nile
died, the Nile began to stink, so that the Egyp-
tians could not drink water from the Nile. There
was blood everywhere in the land of Egypt!
7: But the magicians of Egypt did the same by
their secret arts, and so Pharaoh’s heart remained
hard, and he refused to listen to Moses and Aar-
on – just as the Lord had predicted. 7:3 And
Pharaoh turned and went into his house. He did
not pay any attention to this. 7:4 All the Egyp-
tians dug around the Nile for water to drink,0 be-
cause they could not drink the water of the Nile.
 sn There have been various attempts to explain the de-
tails of this plague or blow. One possible suggestion is that
the plague turned the Nile into “blood,” but that it gradually
turned back to its normal color and substance. However, the
effects of the “blood” polluted the water so that dead fish and
other contamination left it undrinkable. This would explain
how themagicians could also do it – theywould not have tried
if all water was already turned to blood. It also explains why
Pharaoh did not ask for the water to be turned back. This view
was put forward by B. Schor; it is summarized by B. Jacob
(Exodus, 258), who prefers the view of Rashi that the blow
affected only water in use.
 tn The first clause in this verse begins with a vav disjunc-
tive, introducing a circumstantial clause to the statement
that the water stank. The vav (ו) consecutive on the next verb
shows that the smell was the result of the dead fish in the
contaminatedwater. The result is then expressedwith the vav
beginning the clause that states that they could not drink it.
 tn The preterite could be given a simple definite past
translation, but an ingressive past would be more likely, as
the smell would get worse and worse with the dead fish.
 tn Heb “and there was blood.”
 tn Heb “thus, so.”
 tn The vav consecutive on the preterite introduces the out-
come or result of thematter – Pharaoh was hardened.
 tn Heb “and the heart of Pharaoh became hard.” This
phrase translates the Hebrew word ק ַז ָח (khazaq; see S. R.
Driver, Exodus, 53). In context this represents the continua-
tion of a prior condition.
 tn Heb “to them”; the referents (Moses and Aaron) have
been specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn The text has תא ֹז ָל־ם ַ ּג ֹו ּב ִל ת ָשׁ ־א ֹל ְו (vÿlo’-shat libbo gam-
lazo’t), which literally says, “and he did not set his heart also
to this.” To “set the heart” to something would mean “to con-
sider it.” This Hebrew idiom means that he did not pay atten-
tion to it, or take it to heart (cf. 2 Sam 13:20; Ps 48:13; 62:10;
Prov 22:17; 24:32). Since Pharaoh had not been affected by
this, he did not consider it or its implications further.
0 sn The text stresses that the water in the Nile, and Nile
water that had been diverted or collected for use, was pol-
luted and undrinkable. Water underground also was from
the Nile, but it had not been contaminated, certainly not with
dead fish, and so would be drinkable.
The Second Blow: Frogs
7:5 Seven full days passed after the
Lord struck the Nile. 8:1 (7:26) Then the
Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell
him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Release my peo-
ple in order that they may serve me! 8: But if
you refuse to release them, then I am going to
plague all your territory with frogs. 8:3 The
Nile will swarm with frogs, and they will come
 sn An attempt to connect thisplaguewith thenaturalphe-
nomena of Egypt proposes that because of the polluted water
due to the high Nile, the frogs abandoned their normal watery
homes (seven days after the first plague) and sought cover
from the sun in homes wherever there was moisture. Since
they had already been exposed to the poisonous water, they
died very suddenly. The miracle was in the announcement
and the timing, i.e., that Moses would predict this blow, and
in the magnitude of it all, which was not natural (Greta Hort,
“The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 [1957]: 95-98). It is also im-
portant to note that in parts of Egypt there was a fear of these
creatures as embodying spirits capable of great evil. People
developed the mentality of bowing to incredibly horrible idols
to drive away the bad spirits. Evil spirits are represented in
the book of Revelation in the forms of frogs (Rev 16:13). The
frogs that the magicians produced could very well have been
in the realm of evil spirits. Exactly how the Egyptians thought
about this plague is hard to determine, but there is enough
evidence to say that the plague would have made them spiri-
tually as well as physically uncomfortable, and that the death
of the frogs would have been a “sign” from God about their
superstitions and related beliefs. The frog is associated with
the god Hapi, and a frog-headed goddess named Heqet was
supposed to assist women at childbirth. The plague would
have been evidence that Yahweh was controlling their envi-
ronment and upsetting their beliefs for his own purpose.
 tn The text literally has “and seven days were filled.” Sev-
en days gave Pharaoh enough time to repent and release Is-
rael.When the week passed, God’s second blow came.
 tn This is a temporal clause made up of the preposition,
the Hiphil infinitive construct of ה ָכ ָנ (nakhah), ת ֹו ּכ ַה (hakkot),
followed by the subjective genitive YHWH. Here the verb is ap-
plied to the truemeaning of the plague:Moses struck the wa-
ter, but the plague was a blow struck by God.
 sn Beginning with 8:1, the verse numbers through 8:32
in English Bibles differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew
text (BHS), with 8:1 ET = 7:26 HT, 8:2 ET = 7:27 HT, 8:3 ET =
7:28 HT, 8:4 ET = 7:29 HT, 8:5 ET = 8:1 HT, etc., through 8:32
ET = 8:28 HT. Thus in English Bibles chapter 8 has 32 verses,
while in the Hebrew Bible it has 28 verses, with the four extra
verses attached to chapter 7.
 tn The construction here uses the deictic particle
and the participle to convey the imminent future: “I am go-
ing to plague/about to plague.” The verb ף ַג ָנ (nagaf) means
“to strike, to smite,” and its related noun means “a blow, a
plague, pestilence” or the like. For Yahweh to say “I am about
to plague you” could just as easilymean “I am about to strike
you.” That iswhy these “plagues” can be described as “blows”
received from God.
 tn Heb “plague all your border with frogs.” The expres-
sion “all your border” is figurative for all the territory of Egypt
and the people and things that are within the borders (also
used in Exod 10:4, 14, 19; 13:7).
sn This word for frogs is mentioned in the OT only in con-
junction with this plague (here and Pss 78:45, 105:30). R.
A. Cole (Exodus [TOTC], 91) suggests that this word “frogs”
(םי ִע ְ ּד ְר ַפ ְצ, tsÿfardÿ’im) may be an onomatopoeic word, some-
thing like “croakers”; it is of Egyptian origin and could be a
Hebrew attempt to write the Arabic dofda.
 sn The choice of this verb ץ ַר ָשׁ (sharats) recalls its use in
the creation account (Gen 1:20). The water would be swarm-
ing with frogs in abundance. There is a hint here of this being
a creative work of God as well.
137 exodus 8:3
up and go into your house, in your bedroom, and
on your bed, and into the houses of your servants
and your people, and into your ovens and your
kneading troughs. 8:4 Frogswill come up against
you, your people, and all your servants.”’”
8:5 The Lord spoke to Moses, “Tell Aaron,
‘Extend your hand with your staff over the rivers,
over the canals, and over the ponds, and bring the
frogs up over the land of Egypt.’” 8:6 So Aaron
extended his hand over the waters of Egypt, and
frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
8:7 The magicians did the same with their se-
cret arts and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt
8:8 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and
Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord that he may
take the frogs away0 from me and my people,
and I will release the people that they may sac-
rifice to the Lord.” 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh,
 sn This verse lists places the frogs will go. The first three
are for Pharaoh personally – they are going to touch his pri-
vate life. Then the textmentions the servants and the people.
Mention of the ovens and kneading bowls (or troughs) of the
people indicates that food would be contaminated and that it
would be impossible even to eat ameal in peace.
 tn Here again is the generic use of the article, designating
the class – frogs.
 sn The word order of the Hebrew text is important be-
cause it shows how the plague was pointedly directed at Pha-
raoh: “and against you, and against your people, and against
all your servants frogs will go up.”
 sn After the instructions for Pharaoh (7:25-8:4), the
plague now is brought on by the staff in Aaron’s hand (8:5-7).
This will lead to the confrontation (vv. 8-11) and the harden-
ing (vv. 12-15).
 tn The noun is singular, a collective. B. Jacob notes that
this would be the more natural way to refer to the frogs (Exo-
dus, 260).
 tn Heb “thus, so.”
 sn In these first two plagues the fact that the Egyptians
could and did duplicate them is ironic. By duplicating the ex-
perience, they added to themisery of Egypt.Onewonderswhy
they did not use their skills to rid the land of the pests instead,
and the implication of course is that they could not.
 tn The verb א ָר ָק (qara’) followed by the lamed (ל) preposi-
tion has themeaning “to summon.”
 tn The verb ּורי ִ ּת ְע ַה (ha’tiru) is the Hiphil imperative of the
verb ר ַת ָע (’atar). It means “to pray, supplicate,” or “make sup-
plication” – always addressed to God. It is often translated
“entreat” to reflect that it is amore urgent praying.
0 tn This form is the jussive with a sequential vav that pro-
vides the purpose of the prayer: pray…that he may turn away
the frogs.
sn This is the first time in the conflict that Pharaoh even ac-
knowledged that Yahweh existed. Now he is asking for prayer
to remove the frogs and is promising to release Israel. This
result of the plague must have been an encouragement to
 tn The form is thePiel cohortativeה ָח ְ ּל ַשׁ ֲא ַו (va’ashallÿkhah)
with the vav (ו) continuing the sequence from the request and
its purpose. The cohortative here stresses the resolve of the
king: “and (then) I will release.”
 tn Here also the imperfect tense with the vav (ו) shows
the purpose of the release: “that theymay sacrifice.”
“You may have the honor over me – when shall
I pray for you, your servants, and your people, for
the frogs to be removed from you and your hous-
es, so that they will be left only in the Nile?”
8:10 He said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said, “It
will be as you say, so that you may know that
there is no one like the Lord our God. 8:11 The
frogs will depart from you, your houses, your ser-
vants, and your people; they will be left only in
the Nile.”
8:1 Then Moses and Aaron went out from
Pharaoh, and Moses cried0 to the Lord because
of the frogs that he had brought on Pharaoh.
8:13 The Lord did as Moses asked – the frogs
died out of the houses, the villages, and the
fields. 8:14 The Egyptians piled them in count-
less heaps, and the land stank. 8:15 But when
 tn The expression י ַל ָע ר ֵא ָ ּפ ְת ִה (hitpa’er ’alay) is problem-
atic. The verb would be simply translated “honor yourself” or
“deck yourself with honor.” It can be used in the bad sense of
self-exaltation. But here it seems tomean “have the honor or
advantage over me” in choosing when to remove the frogs.
The LXX has “appoint for me.” Moses is doing more than
extending a courtesy to Pharaoh; he is giving him the upper
hand in choosing the time. But it is also a test, for if Pharaoh
picked the time it would appear less likely that Moses was
manipulating things. As U. Cassuto puts it, Moses is say-
ing “my trust in God is so strong you may have the honor of
choosing the time” (Exodus, 103).
 tn Or “destroyed”; Heb “to cut off the frogs.”
 tn The phrase “so that” is implied.
 tn Or “survive, remain.”
 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn “It will be” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “according to your word” (so NASB).
0 tn The verb ק ַע ָצ (tsa’aq) is used for prayers in which peo-
ple cry out of trouble or from danger. U. Cassuto observes
that Moses would have been in real danger if God had not
answered this prayer (Exodus, 103).
 tn Heb “over thematter of.”
 tn The verb is an unusual choice if it were just to mean
“brought on.” It is the verb םי ׂ ִש (sim, “place, put”). S. R. Driver
thinks the thought is “appointed for Pharaoh” as a sign (Exo-
dus, 64). The idea of the sign might be too much, but cer-
tainly the frogs were positioned for the instruction of the stub-
born king.
 tn Heb “according to the word ofMoses” (so KJV, NASB).
Just as Moses had told Pharaoh “according to your word” (v.
10), now the Lord does “according to the word” ofMoses.
 tn Heb “and the frogs died.”
 tn Heb “and they piled them.” For clarity the translation
supplies the referent “the Egyptians” as the ones who were
piling the frogs.
 tn The word “heaps” is repeated: ם ִר ָמ ֳה ם ִר ָמ ֳח (khomarim
khomarim). The repetition serves to intensify the idea to the
highest degree – “countless heaps” (see GKC 396 §123.e).
exodus 8:4 138
Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened
his heart and did not listen to them, just as the
Lord had predicted.
The Third Blow: Gnats
8:16 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aar-
on, ‘Extend your staff and strike the dust of the
ground, and it will become gnats throughout
all the land of Egypt.’” 8:17 They did so; Aaron
extended his hand with his staff, he struck the
dust of the ground, and it became gnats on peo-
ple and on animals. All the dust of the ground
became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt.
8:18 When the magicians attempted to bring
forth gnats by their secret arts, they could not.
So there were gnats on people and on animals.
8:19 The magicians said0 to Pharaoh, “It is the
finger of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained
 tn The word ה ָח ָו ְר (rÿvakhah) means “respite, relief.” BDB
926 relates it to the verb ח ַו ָר (ravakh, “to be wide, spacious”).
There would be relief when there was freedom to move
 tn ד ֵ ּב ְכ ַה ְו (vÿhakhbed) is a Hiphil infinitive absolute, func-
tioning as a finite verb. The meaning of the word is “to make
heavy,” and so stubborn, sluggish, indifferent. It summarizes
his attitude and the outcome, that he refused to keep his
 sn The end of the plague revealed clearly God’s absolute
control over Egypt’s life and deities – all at the power of the
man who prayed to God. Yahweh had made life unpleasant
for the people by sending the plague, but he was also the one
who could remove it. The only recourse anyone has in such
trouble is to pray to the sovereign Lord God. Everyone should
know that there is no one like Yahweh.
 sn The third plague is brief and unannounced.Moses and
Aaron were simply to strike the dust so that it would become
gnats. Not only was this plague unannounced, but also it was
not duplicated by the Egyptians.
 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive,
meaning “and it will be.” When ה ָי ָה (hayah) is followed by the
lamed (ל) proposition, itmeans “become.”
 tn The noun is םי ִ ּנ ִ ּכ (kinnim). The insect has been vari-
ously identified as lice, gnats, ticks, flies, fleas, ormosquitoes.
“Lice” follows the reading in the Peshitta and Targum (and so
Josephus, Ant. 2.14.3 [2.300]). Greek and Latin had “gnats.”
By “gnats”many commentatorsmean “mosquitoes,”which in
and around the water of Egypt were abundant (and the trans-
lators of the Greek text were familiar with Egypt). Whatever
they were they came from the dust and were troublesome to
people and animals.
 tn Heb “man,” but in the generic sense of “humans” or
“people” (also in v. 18).
 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordi-
nated to themain clause as a temporal clause.
 tn Heb “and themagicians did so.”
sn The report of what the magicians did (or as it turns out,
tried to do) begins with the same words as the report about
the actions of Moses and Aaron – “and they did so” (vv. 17
and 18). Themagicians copy the actions ofMoses and Aaron,
leading readers to think momentarily that the magicians are
again successful, but at the end of the verse comes the news
that “they could not.” Compared with the first two plagues,
this third plague has an important new feature, the failure
of the magicians and their recognition of the source of the
0 tn Heb “and themagicians said.”
speech inwhichGod isdescribedusinghumancharacteristics).
sn The point of the magicians’ words is clear enough. They
knew they were beaten and by whom. The reason for their
choice of the word “finger” has occasioned many theories,
hard, and he did not listen to them, just as the
Lord had predicted.
The Fourth Blow: Flies
8:0 The Lord said to Moses, “Get up
early in the morning and position yourself be-
fore Pharaoh as he goes out to the water, and
tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Release my peo-
ple that they may serve me! 8:1 If you do not
release my people, then I am going to send
swarms of flies on you and on your servants and
on your people and in your houses. The houses
of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even
the ground they stand on. 8: But on that day
I will mark off the land of Goshen, where my
people are staying,0 so that no swarms of flies
none of which is entirely satisfying. At the least their state-
ment highlights that the plague was accomplished by God
with majestic ease and effortlessness. Perhaps the reason
that they could not do this was that it involved producing life
– from the dust of the ground, as in Genesis 2:7. The creative
power of God confounded the magic of the Egyptians and
brought on them a loathsome plague.
 tn Heb “and the heart of Pharaoh became hard.” This
phrase translates the Hebrew word ק ַז ָח (khazaq; see S. R.
Driver, Exodus, 53). In context this represents the continua-
tion of a prior condition.
 sn The announcement of the fourth plague parallels
that of the first plague. Now there will be flies, likely dogflies.
Egypt has always suffered from flies, more so in the summer
than in the winter. But the flies the plague describes involve
something greater than any normal season for flies. Themain
point that can be stressed in this plague comes by tracing the
development of the plagues in their sequence. Now, with the
flies, it becomes clear that God can inflict suffering on some
people and preserve others – a preview of the coming judg-
ment that will punish Egypt but set Israel free. God is fully
able to keep the dog-fly in the land of the Egyptians and save
his people from these judgments.
 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
 tn The construction uses the predicator of nonexistence
– ןי ֵא (’en, “there is not”) – with a pronominal suffix prior to the
Piel participle. The suffix becomes the subject of the clause.
Heb “but if there is not you releasing.”
 tn Here again is the futur instans use of the participle,
now Qal with the meaning “send”: ַחי ִל ְשׁ ַמ י ִנ ְנ ִה (hinni mashl-
iakh, “here I am sending”).
 tn The word ב ֹר ָע (’arov) means “a mix” or “swarm.” It
seems that some irritating kind of flying insect is involved.
Ps 78:45 says that the Egyptians were eaten or devoured by
them. Various suggestions have been made over the years:
(1) it could refer to beasts or reptiles; (2) the Greek took it as
the dog-fly, a vicious blood-sucking gadfly, more common in
the spring than in the fall; (3) the ordinary house fly, which is
a symbol of Egypt in Isa 7:18 (Hebrew ב ּוב ְז, zÿvuv); and (4) the
beetle, which gnaws and bites plants, animals, and materi-
als. The fly probably fits the details of this passage best; the
plague would have greatly intensified a problem with flies that
already existed.
 tn Or perhaps “the land where they are” (cf. NRSV “the
land where they live”).
 tn Or “distinguish.” י ִתי ֵל ְפ ִה ְו (vÿhifleti) is the Hiphil perfect
of ה ָל ָ ּפ (palah). The verb in Hiphil means “to set apart, make
separate, make distinct.” God was going to keep the flies
away from Goshen – he was setting that apart. The Greek text
assumed that the word was from א ֵל ָ ּפ (pale’), and translated it
something like “I willmarvelously glorify.”
0 tn The relative clausemodifies the land of Goshen as the
place “in whichmy people are dwelling.” But the normal word
for “dwelling” is not used here. Instead, ד ֵמ ֹע (’omed) is used,
which literally means “standing.” The land on which Israel
stood was spared the flies and the hail.
139 exodus 8:
will be there, that you may know that I am the
Lord in the midst of this land. 8:3 I will put a di-
vision between my people and your people. This
sign will take place tomorrow.”’” 8:4 The Lord
did so; a thick swarm of flies came into Pha-
raoh’s house and into the houses of his servants,
and throughout the whole land of Egypt the land
was ruined because of the swarms of flies.
8:5 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and
Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God with-
in the land.” 8:6 But Moses said, “That would
not be the right thing to do,0 for the sacrifices
we make to the Lord our God would be an
abomination to the Egyptians. If we make
 tn Or “of the earth” (KJV, ASV, NAB).
 tn The word in the text is ת ֻד ְפ (pÿdut, “redemption”). This
would give the sense ofmaking a distinction by redeeming Is-
rael. The editors wish to read ת ֻל ְפ (pÿlut) instead – “a separa-
tion, distinction” tomatch the verb in the preceding verse. For
another view, see G. I. Davies, “The Hebrew Text of Exodus VIII
19 [English 23]: An Emendation,” VT 24 (1974): 489-92.
 tn Heb “this sign will be tomorrow.”
 tn Heb “and there came a….”
 tn Heb “heavy,” or “severe.”
 tn Here, and in the next phrase, the word “house” has to
be taken as an adverbial accusative of termination.
 tn The Hebrew text has the singular here.
 tc Concerning the connection of “the land was ruined”
with the preceding, S. R. Driver (Exodus, 68) suggests read-
ing with the LXX, Smr, and Peshitta; this would call for adding
a conjunction before the last clause tomake it read, “into the
house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all
the land of Egypt; and the land was….”
tn The Hebrew word ת ֵח ָ ּשׁ ִ ּת (tishakhet) is a strong word; it is
the Niphal imperfect of ת ַח ָשׁ (shakhat) and is translated “ru-
ined.” If the classification as imperfect stands, then it would
have to be something like a progressive imperfect (the land
was being ruined); otherwise, it may simply be a preter-
ite without the vav (ו) consecutive. The verb describes utter
devastation. This is the verb that is used in Gen 13:10 to de-
scribe how Yahweh destroyed Sodom andGomorrah. Swarms
of flies would disrupt life, contaminate everything, and bring
 sn After the plague is inflicted on the land, then Pharaoh
makes an appeal. So there is the familiar confrontation (vv.
25-29). Pharaoh’s words to Moses are an advancement on
his previous words. Now he uses imperatives: “Go, sacrifice
to your God.” But he restricts it to “in the [this] land.” This is
a subtle attempt to keep them as a subjugated people and
prevent their absolute allegiance to their God. This offered
compromise would destroy the point of the exodus – to leave
Egypt and find a new allegiance under the Lord.
0 tn The clause is a little unusual in its formation. The form
ן ֹוכ ָנ (nakhon) is the Niphal participle from ן ּו ּכ (kun), which
usually means “firm, fixed, steadfast,” but here it has a rare
meaning of “right, fitting, appropriate.” It functions in the sen-
tence as the predicate adjective, because the infinitive ת ֹו ׂ ּש ֲע ַל
(la’asot) is the subject – “to do so is not right.”
 tn This translation has been smoothed out to capture the
sense. The text literally says, “for the abomination of Egypt we
will sacrifice to Yahweh our God.” In other words, the animals
that Israel would sacrifice were sacred to Egypt, and sacrific-
ing them would have been abhorrent to the Egyptians.
 tn An “abomination” is something that is off-limits,
something that is taboo. It could be translated “detestable”
or “loathsome.”
 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 109) says there are two ways to
understand “the abomination of the Egyptians.” One is that
the sacrifice of the sacred animals would appear an abomi-
nable thing in the eyes of the Egyptians, and the other is that
the word “abomination” could be a derogatory term for idols
– we sacrifice what is an Egyptian idol. So that is why he says
sacrifices that are an abomination to the Egyptians
right before their eyes, will they not stone us?
8:7Wemust go on a three-day journey into the
desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God, just as
he is telling us.”
8:8 Pharaoh said, “I will release you0 so that
you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the
desert. Only you must not go very far. Do pray
for me.”
8:9 Moses said, “I am going to go out
from you and pray to the Lord, and the swarms
of flies will go away from Pharaoh, from his
servants, and from his people tomorrow. Only
do not let Pharaoh deal falsely again by not
if they did this the Egyptians would stone them.
 tn Heb “if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians
[or “of Egypt”] before their eyes.”
 tn The interrogative clause has no particle to indicate it is
a question, but it is connected with the conjunction to the pre-
ceding clause, and the meaning of these clauses indicates it
is a question (GKC 473 §150.a).
 tn The verb ְך ֵל ֵנ (nelekh) is a Qal imperfect of the verb ְך ַל ָה
(halakh). Here it should be given themodal nuance of obliga-
tion: “wemust go.”
 tn This clause is placed first in the sentence to stress
the distance required. ְך ֶר ֶ ּד (derekh) is an adverbial accusative
specifying how far they must go. It is in construct, so “three
days” modifies it. It is a “journey of three days,” or, “a three
day journey.”
 tn The form is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecu-
tive; it follows in the sequence: we must go…and then [must]
 tn The form is the imperfect tense. It could be future: “as
he will tell us,” but it also could be the progressive imperfect
if this is now what God is telling them to do: “as he is telling
0 sn By changing from “the people” to “you” (plural) the
speech of Pharaoh was becomingmore personal.
 tn This form, a perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, is
equivalent to the imperfect tense that precedes it. However,
it must be subordinate to the preceding verb to express the
purpose. He is not saying “I will release…and you will sacri-
fice,” but rather “Iwill release…that youmay sacrifice” or even
“to sacrifice.”
 tn The construction is very emphatic. First, it uses a ver-
bal hendiadys with a Hiphil imperfect and the Qal infinitive
construct: ת ֶכ ֶל ָל ּוקי ִח ְר ַת־א ֹל (lo’ tarkhiqu lalekhet, “you will not
make far to go”), meaning “you will not go far.” But this prohi-
bition is then emphasized with the additional infinitive abso-
lute ק ֵח ְר ַה (harkheq) – “you will in no wise go too far.” The point
is very strong to safeguard the concession.
 tn “Do” has been supplied here to convey that this some-
what unexpected command is tacked onto Pharaoh’s instruc-
tions as his ultimate concern, which Moses seems to under-
stand as such, since he speaks about it immediately (v. 29).
 tn The deictic particle with the participle usually indi-
cates the futur instans nuance: “I am about to…,” or “I am
going to….” The clause could also be subordinated as a tem-
poral clause.
 tn The verb ל ַל ָ ּת (talal) means “to mock, deceive, trifle
with.” The construction in this verse forms a verbal hendiad-
ys. The Hiphil jussive ף ֵס ֹי־ל ַא (’al-yosef, “let not [Pharaoh] add”)
is joined with the Hiphil infinitive ל ֵת ָה (hatel, “to deceive”). It
means: “Let not Pharaoh deceive again.” Changing to the
third person in this warning to Pharaoh is more decisive,
more powerful.
exodus 8:3 140
releasing the people to sacrifice to the Lord.”
8:30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed
to the Lord, 8:31 and the Lord did asMoses asked
– he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh,
from his servants, and from his people.Not one re-
mained! 8:3 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this
time also and did not release the people.
The Fifth Blow: Disease
9:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to
Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord,
the God of the Hebrews, “Release my people
that they may serve me! 9: For if you refuse
to release them and continue holding them,
9:3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring
a very terrible plague on your livestock in the
field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the
herds, and the flocks. 9:4 But the Lord will dis-
tinguish0 between the livestock of Israel and the
 tn The Piel infinitive construct after lamed (ל) and the neg-
ative functions epexegetically, explaining how Pharaoh would
deal falsely – “by not releasing.”
 tn Heb “according to the word ofMoses” (so KJV, ASV).
 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word ד ֵב ָ ּכ (kaved);
see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
 sn This plague demonstrates that Yahweh has power over
the livestock of Egypt. He is able to strike the animals with
disease and death, thus delivering a blow to the economic as
well as the religious life of the land. By the former plagues
many of the Egyptian religious ceremonies would have been
interrupted and objects of veneration defiled or destroyed.
Now some of the important deities will be attacked. In Gos-
hen, where the cattle are merely cattle, no disease hits, but
in the rest of Egypt it is a different matter. Osiris, the savior,
cannot even save the brute in which his own soul is supposed
to reside. Apis and Mnevis, the ram of Ammon, the sheep of
Sais, and the goat ofMendes, perish together. Hence,Moses
reminds Israel afterward, “On their gods also Yahweh execut-
ed judgments” (Num 33:4). When Jethro heard of all these
events, he said, “Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all
the gods” (Exod 18:11).
 tn The object “them” is implied in the context.
 tn ד ֹוע (’od), an adverbmeaning “yet, still,” can be inflected
with suffixes and used as a predicator of existence, with the
nuance “to still be, yet be” (T. O. Lambdin, Introduction to Bib-
lical Hebrew, 171-72, §137). Then, it is joined here with the
Hiphil participle קי ִז ֲח ַמ (makhaziq) to form the sentence “you
are still holding them.”
 tn The form used here is ה ָי ֹוה (hoyah), the Qal active parti-
ciple, feminine singular, from the verb “to be.” This is the only
place in the OT that this form occurs. Ogden shows that this
form is appropriate with the particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) to stress im-
pending divine action, and that it conforms to the pattern in
these narratives where five times the participle is used in the
threat to Pharaoh (7:17; 8:2; 9:3, 14; 10:4). See G. S. Ogden,
“Notes on the Use of היוה in Exodus IX. 3,” VT 17 (1967): 483-
 tn The word ר ֶב ֶ ּד (dever) is usually translated “pestilence”
when it applies to diseases for humans. It is used only here
and in Ps 78:50 for animals.
 sn The older view that camels were not domesticated at
this time (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 70; W. F. Albright, Archaeolo-
gy and the Religion of Israel, 96; et. al.) has been corrected
by more recently uncovered information (see K. A. Kitchen,
NBD3 160-61).
0 tn The verb ה ָל ָ ּפ (palah) in Hiphil means “to set apart,
make separate, make distinct.” See also Exod 8:22 (18 HT);
11:7; 33:16.
livestock of Egypt, and nothing will die of all
that the Israelites have.”’”
9:5 The Lord set an appointed time, saying,
“Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.”
9:6 And the Lord did this on the next day; all
the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the Is-
raelites’ livestock not one died. 9:7 Pharaoh sent
representatives to investigate, and indeed, not
even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But
Pharaoh’s heart remained hard,0 and he did not
release the people.
The Sixth Blow: Boils
9:8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aar-
on, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace, and
have Moses throw it into the air while Pha-
raoh is watching. 9:9 It will become fine dust
over the whole land of Egypt and will cause
boils to break out and fester on both people and
 tn There is a wordplay in this section. A pestilence – ר ֶב ֶ ּד
(dever) – will fall on Egypt’s cattle, but no thing – ר ָב ָ ּד (davar)
– belonging to Israel would die. It was perhaps for this reason
that the verb was changed in v. 1 from “say” to “speak” (ר ֶ ּב ִ ּד,
dibber). See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 111.
 tn The lamed preposition indicates possession: “all that
was to the Israelites”means “all that the Israelites had.”
 tn Heb “and Yahweh set.”
 tn Heb “this thing.”
 tn Heb “this thing.”
 tn Heb “on themorrow.”
 tn The word “all” clearly does notmean “all” in the exclu-
sive sense, because subsequent plagues involve cattle. The
word must denote such a large number that whatever was
left was insignificant for the economy. It could also be taken
tomean “all [kinds of] livestock died.”
 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the
 tn Heb “Pharaoh sent.” The phrase “representatives to
investigate” is implied in the context.
0 tn Heb “and the heart of Pharaoh was hardened.” This
phrase translates the Hebrew word ד ֵב ָ ּכ (kaved; see S. R. Driv-
er, Exodus, 53). In context this represents the continuation of
a prior condition.
 sn This sixth plague, like the third, is unannounced. God
instructs his servants to take handfuls of ashes from the
Egyptians’ furnaces and sprinkle them heavenward in the
sight of Pharaoh. These ashes would become little particles
of dust that would cause boils on the Egyptians and their
animals. Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 [1957]:
101-3, suggests it is skin anthrax (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exo-
dus,” EBC 2:359). The lesson of this plague is that Yahweh
has absolute control over the physical health of the people.
Physical suffering consequent to sin comes to all regardless
of their position and status. The Egyptians are helpless in the
face of this, as now God begins to touch human life; greater
judgments on human wickedness lie ahead.
 tn This word ַחי ִ ּפ (piakh) is a hapax legomenon, meaning
“soot”; it seems to be derived from the verb ַח ּו ּפ (puakh, “to
breathe, blow”). The “furnace” (ן ָשׁ ְב ִ ּכ, kivshan) was a special
kiln formaking pottery or bricks.
 tn The verb ק ַר ָז (zaraq) means “to throw vigorously, to
toss.” If Moses tosses the soot into the air, it will symbolize
that the disease is falling from heaven.
 tn Heb “before the eyes of Pharaoh.”
 tn The word ןי ִח ְשׁ (shÿkhin) means “boils.” It may be con-
nected to an Arabic cognate that means “to be hot.” The ill-
ness is associated with Job (Job 2:7-8) and Hezekiah (Isa
38:21); it has also been connected with other skin diseases
described especially in the Law. The word connected with it
is ת ֹע ֻ ּב ְע ַב ֲא (’ava’bu’ot); this means “blisters, pustules” and is
sometimes translated as “festering.” The etymology is debat-
141 exodus 9:9
animals in all the land of Egypt.” 9:10 So they took
soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh,
Moses threw it into the air, and it caused festering
boils to break out on both people and animals.
9:11Themagicians could not stand beforeMo-
ses because of the boils, for boils were on the ma-
gicians and on all the Egyptians. 9:1But the Lord
hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to
them, just as the Lord had predicted toMoses.
The Seventh Blow: Hail
9:13 The Lord said to Moses, “Get up
early in the morning, stand before Pharaoh,
and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of
the Hebrews: “Release my people so that they
may serve me! 9:14 For this time I will send all
my plagues on your very self and on your ser-
vants and your people, so that you may know that
there is no one like me in all the earth. 9:15 For
by now I could have stretched out my hand and
struck you and your people with plague, and
you would have been destroyed from the earth.
ed, whether from a word meaning “to swell up” or “to over-
flow” (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:359).
 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word ק ַז ָח (khazaq);
see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
 sn With the seventh plague there is more explanation of
what God is doing to Pharaoh. This plague begins with an ex-
tended lesson (vv. 13-21). Rainwas almost unknown in Egypt,
and hail and lightning were harmless. The Egyptians were fas-
cinated by all these, though, and looked on them as porten-
tous. Herodotus describes how they studied such things and
wrote them down (1.2.c.38). If ordinary rainstorms were omi-
nous, what must fire and hail have been? The Egyptians had
denominated fire Hephaistos, considering it to be a mighty
deity (cf. Diodorus, 1.1.c.1). Porphry says that at the opening
of the temple of Serapis the Egyptians worshiped with water
and fire. If these connections were clearly understood, then
these elements in the plague were thought to be deities that
came down on their own people with death and destruction.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
 tn Or “take your stand.”
 tn The expression “allmy plagues” points to the rest of the
plagues and anticipates the proper outcome. Another view is
to take the expression to mean the full brunt of the attack on
the Egyptian people.
 tn Heb “to your heart.” The expression is unusual, but it
may be an allusion to the hard heartedness of Pharaoh – his
stubbornness and blindness (B. Jacob, Exodus, 274).
 tn The verb is the Qal perfect י ִ ּת ְח ַל ָשׁ (shalakhti), but a past
tense, or completed action translation does not fit the con-
text at all. Gesenius lists this reference as an example of the
use of the perfect to express actions and facts,whose accom-
plishment is to be represented not as actual but only as pos-
sible. He offers this for Exod 9:15: “I had almost put forth”
(GKC 313 §106.p). Also possible is “I should have stretched
out my hand.” Others read the potential nuance instead, and
render it as “I could have…” as in the present translation.
 tn The verb ד ַח ָ ּכ (kakhad) means “to hide, efface,” and in
the Niphal it has the idea of “be effaced, ruined, destroyed.”
Here it will carry the nuance of the result of the preceding
verbs: “I could have stretched outmy hand…and struck you…
and (as a result) you would have been destroyed.”
9:16 But for this purpose I have caused you to
stand:0 to show youmy strength, and so thatmy
name may be declared in all the earth. 9:17 You
are still exalting yourself against my people by
not releasing them. 9:18 I am going to cause very
severe hail to rain down about this time tomor-
row, such hail as has never occurred in Egypt
from the day it was founded until now. 9:19 So
now, send instructions to gather your livestock
and all your possessions in the fields to a safe
place. Every person0 or animal caught in the
field and not brought into the house – the hail will
come down on them, and they will die!”’”
9:0 Those of Pharaoh’s servants who
feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring
their servants and livestock into the houses,
9:1 but those who did not take the word of
 tn The first word is a very strong adversative, which, in
general, can be translated “but, howbeit”; BDB 19 s.v. ם ָל ּוא
suggests for this passage “but in very deed.”
0 tn The form ָךי ִ ּת ְד ַמ ֱע ֶה (he’emadtikha) is the Hiphil per-
fect of ד ַמ ָע (’amad). It would normally mean “I caused you to
stand.” But that seems to have one or two different conno-
tations. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 73) says that it means “main-
tain you alive.” The causative of this verb means “continue,”
according to him. The LXX has the same basic sense – “you
were preserved.” But Paul bypasses the Greek and writes
“he raised you up” to show God’s absolute sovereignty over
Pharaoh. Both renderings show God’s sovereign control over
 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct ָך ְת ֹא ְר ַה (har’otÿkha) is the
purpose of God’s making Pharaoh come to power in the first
place. Tomake Pharaoh see is to cause him to understand, to
experience God’s power.
 tn Heb “in order to declare my name.” Since there is no
expressed subject, thismay be given a passive translation.
 tn ל ֵל ֹו ּת ְס ִמ (mistolel) is a Hitpael participle, from a root
thatmeans “raise up, obstruct.” So in the Hitpael itmeans to
“raise oneself up,” “elevate oneself,” or “be an obstruction-
ist.” See W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:363; U. Cassuto,
Exodus, 116.
 tn The infinitive construct with lamed here is epexegeti-
cal; it explains how Pharaoh has exalted himself – “by not re-
leasing the people.”
 tn רי ִט ְמ ַמ י ִנ ְנ ִה (hinÿni mamtir) is the futur instans con-
struction, giving an imminent future translation: “Here – I am
about to cause it to rain.”
 tn Heb “which not was like it in Egypt.” The pronoun suf-
fix serves as the resumptive pronoun for the relative particle:
“which…like it” becomes “the like of which has not been.”
The word “hail” is added in the translation to make clear the
referent of the relative particle.
 tn The form ה ָד ְס ָ ּו ִה (hivvasdah) is perhaps a rare Niphal
perfect and not an infinitive (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 117).
 tn The object “instructions” is implied in the context.
 tn ז ֵע ָה (ha’ez) is the Hiphil imperative from ז ּוע (’uz, “to
bring into safety” or “to secure”). Although there is no vav (ו)
linking the two imperatives, the second could be subordinat-
ed by virtue of themeanings. “Send to bring to safety.”
0 tn Heb “man, human.”
 tn Heb “[who]may be found.” The verb can be the imper-
fect of possibility.
 tn The text has “the one fearing.” The singular expres-
sion here and throughout vv. 20-21 refers to all who fit the
 tn Heb “his” (singular).
 tn The Hebrew text again has the singular.
 tn Heb “put to his heart.”
exodus 9:10 14
the Lord seriously left their servants and their cat-
tle in the field.
9: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Extend
your hand toward the sky that there may be hail
in all the land of Egypt, on people and on animals,
and on everything that grows in the field in the
land of Egypt.” 9:3 When Moses extended his
staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and
hail, and fire fell to the earth; so the Lord caused
hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. 9:4 Hail
fell0 and fire mingled with the hail; the hail was
so severe that there had not been any like it in
all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.
9:5 The hail struck everything in the open fields,
both people and animals, throughout all the land
of Egypt. The hail struck everything that grows
in the field, and it broke all the trees of the field to
pieces. 9:6 Only in the land of Goshen, where the
Israelites lived, was there no hail.
 tn Heb “his servants and his cattle.”
 tn Or “the heavens” (also in the following verse). The He-
brew term ם ִי ַמ ָשׁ (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or
“sky” depending on the context.
 tn The jussive with the conjunction (י ִהי ִו, vihi) coming after
the imperative provides the purpose or result.
 tn Heb “onman and on beast.”
 tn The noun refers primarily to cultivated grains. But here
it seems to be the general heading for anything that grows
from the ground, all vegetation and plant life, as opposed to
what grows on trees.
 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is here subor-
dinated to the next clause in view of the emphasis put on the
subject, Yahweh, by the disjunctive word order of that clause.
 tn By starting the clause with the subject (an example of
disjunctive word order) the text is certainly stressing that Yah-
weh alone did this.
 tn The expression ת ֹל ֹק ן ַת ָנ (natan qolot) literally means
“gave voices” (also “voice”). This is a poetic expression for
sending the thunder. Ps 29:3 talks about the “voice of Yah-
weh” – the God of glory thunders!
 sn This clause has been variously interpreted. Lightning
would ordinarily accompany thunder; in this case themention
of fire could indicate that the lightning was beyond normal
and that it was striking in such a way as to start fires on the
ground. It could also mean that fire went along the ground
from the pounding hail.
0 tn The verb is the common preterite י ִה ְי ַו (vayÿhi), which
is normally translated “and there was” if it is translated at all.
The verb ה ָי ָה (hayah), however, can mean “be, become, be-
fall, fall, fall out, happen.” Here it could be simply translated
“there was hail,” but the active “hail fell” fits the point of the
sequence better.
 tn The form ת ַח ַ ּק ַל ְת ִמ (mitlaqqakhat) is a Hitpael participle;
the clause reads, “and fire taking hold of itself in themidst of
the hail.” This probably refers to lightning flashing back and
forth. See also Ezek 1:4. God created a great stormwith flash-
ing fire connected to it.
 tn Heb “very heavy” or “very severe.” The subject “the
hail” is implied.
 tn A literal reading of the clause would be “which there
was not like it in all the land of Egypt.” The relative pronoun
must be joined to the resumptive pronoun: “which like it (like
which) there had not been.”
 tn The exact expression is “from man even to beast.” R.
J. Williams lists this as an example of the inclusive use of the
preposition ן ִמ (min) to be rendered “both…and” (Hebrew Syn-
tax, 57, §327).
 tn Heb “all the cultivated grain of.”
9:7 So Pharaoh sent and summoned Moses
and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this
time!The Lord is righteous, and I andmy people
are guilty. 9:8 Pray to the Lord, for themighty
thunderings and hail are too much! I will release
you and you will stay no longer.”0
9:9Moses said tohim, “When I leave the city
I will spread my hands to the Lord, the thunder
will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that
youmay know that the earth belongs to the Lord.
9:30But as for you and your servants, I know that
you do not yet fear the Lord God.”
 sn Pharaoh now is struck by the judgment and acknowl-
edges that he is at fault. But the context shows that this peni-
tence was short-lived. What exactly he meant by this confes-
sion is uncertain. On the surface his words seem to represent
a recognition that he was in the wrong and Yahweh right.
 tn The word ע ָשׁ ָר (rasha’) can mean “ungodly, wicked,
guilty, criminal.” Pharaoh here is saying that Yahweh is right,
and the Egyptians are not – so they are at fault, guilty. S. R.
Driver says the words are used in their forensic sense (in the
right or wrong standing legally) and not in the ethical sense of
morally right and wrong (Exodus, 75).
 sn The text has Heb “the voices of God.” The divine epi-
thet can be used to express the superlative (cf. Jonah 3:3).
 tn The expression ת ֹי ְה ִמ ב ַר ְו (vÿrav mihyot, “[the mighty
thunder and hail] is much from being”) means essentially
“more than enough.” This indicates that the storm was too
much, or, as onemight say, “It is enough.”
0 tn The last clause uses a verbal hendiadys: “you will not
add to stand,”meaning “you will no longer stay.”
 tn י ִתא ֵצ ְ ּכ (kÿtse’ti) is the Qal infinitive construct of א ָצ ָי (yat-
sa’); it functions here as the temporal clause before the state-
ment about prayer.
sn There has been a good deal of speculation about why
Moses would leave the city before praying. Rashi said he did
not want to pray where there were so many idols. It may also
be as the midrash in Exodus Rabbah 12:5 says that most of
the devastation of this plague had been outside in the fields,
and that was whereMoses wished to go.
 sn This clause provides the purpose/result of Moses’ in-
tention: he will pray to Yahweh and the storms will cease “that
you might know….” It was not enough to pray and have the
plague stop. Pharaoh must “know” that Yahweh is the sov-
ereign Lord over the earth. Here was that purpose of know-
ing through experience. This clause provides the key for the
exposition of this plague: God demonstrated his power over
the forces of nature to show his sovereignty – the earth is
Yahweh’s. He can destroy it. He can preserve it. If people sin
by ignoring his word and not fearing him, he can bring judg-
ment on them. If any fear Yahweh and obey his instructions,
they will be spared. A positive way to express the expositional
point of the chapter is to say that those who fear Yahweh and
obey his word will escape the powerful destruction he has
prepared for those who sinfully disregard his word.
 tn The verse begins with the disjunctive vav to mark a
strong contrastive clause to what was said before this.
 tn The adverb ם ֶר ֶט (terem, “before, not yet”) occurs with
the imperfect tense to give the sense of the English present
tense to the verb negated by it (GKC 314-15 §107.c). Moses
is saying that he knew that Pharaoh did not really stand in
awe of God, so as to grant Israel’s release, i.e., fear not in the
religious sense but “be afraid of” God – fear “before” him (S.
R. Driver, Exodus, 76).
143 exodus 9:30
9:31 (Now the flax and the barleywere struck
by the hail, for the barley had ripened and the
flax was in bud. 9:3 But the wheat and the spelt
were not struck, for they are later crops.)
9:33 So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the
city, and spread out his hands to the Lord, and the
thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain stopped
pouring on the earth. 9:34When Pharaoh saw that
the rain and hail and thunder ceased, he sinned
again: both he and his servants hardened0 their
hearts. 9:35 So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard,
and he did not release the Israelites, as the Lord
had predicted throughMoses.
 tn A disjunctive vav introduces the two verses that provide
parenthetical information to the reader. Gesenius notes that
the boldness of such clauses is often indicated by the repeti-
tion of nouns at the beginning (see GKC 452 §141.d). Some
have concluded that because they have been put here rather
than back after v. 25 or 26, they form part of Moses’ speech
to Pharaoh, explaining that the crops that were necessary
for humans were spared, but those for other things were de-
stroyed. This would alsomean thatMoses was saying there is
more that God can destroy (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 279).
 tn The unusual forms ה ָת ָ ּכ ֻנ (nukkatah) in v. 31 and ּו ּכ ֻנ
(nukku) in v. 32 are probably to be taken as old Qal passives.
There are no attested Piel uses of the root.
 tn The words “by the hail” are not in the Hebrew text, but
are supplied from context.
 tn Heb “was in the ear” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV
“had headed.”
 sn Flax was used for making linen, and the area around
Tanis was ideal for producing flax. Barley was used for bread
for the poor people, as well as beer and animal feed.
 tn The word ת ֶמ ֶ ּס ֻ ּכ (kussemet) is translated “spelt”; the
word occurs only here and in Isa 28:25 and Ezek 4:9. Spelt is
a grain closely allied to wheat. Other suggestions have been
brought forward from the study of Egyptian crops (see a brief
summary inW. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:363-64).
 tn Heb “for they are late.”
 tn The clause beginning with the preterite and vav (ו) con-
secutive is here subordinated to the next, and main clause
– that he hardened his heart again.
 tn The construction is another verbal hendiadys: א ֹ ּט ֲח ַל ף ֶס ֹ ּי ַו
(vayyosef lakhatto’), literally rendered “and he added to sin.”
The infinitive construct becomes the main verb, and the Hi-
phil preterite becomes adverbial. The text is clearly interpret-
ing as sin the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart and his refusal to
release Israel. At the least thismeans that the plagues are his
fault, but the expression probablymeansmore than this – he
was disobeying Yahweh God.
0 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word ד ֵב ָ ּכ (kaved);
see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
 tn The verb about Pharaoh’s heart in v. 35 is ק ַז ֱח ֶ ּי ַו
(vayyekhezaq), a Qal preterite: “and it was hardened” or
“strengthened to resist.” This forms the summary statement
of this stage in the drama. The verb used in v. 34 to report
Pharaoh’s response was ד ֵ ּב ְכ ַ ּי ַו (vayyakhbed), a Hiphil preter-
ite: “and he hardened [his heart]” or made it stubborn. The
use of two descriptions of Pharaoh’s heart in close succes-
sion, along with mention of his servants’ heart condition, un-
derscores the growing extent of the problem.
The Eighth Blow: Locusts
10:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pha-
raoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart
of his servants, in order to display these signs
of mine before him, 10: and in order that in the
hearing of your son and your grandson you may
tell how I made fools of the Egyptians and
about my signs that I displayed0 among them,
so that you may know that I am the Lord.”
10:3 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh
and told him, “Thus says the Lord, the God
of the Hebrews: ‘How long do you refuse to
humble yourself before me? Release my peo-
 sn The Egyptians dreaded locusts like every other ancient
civilization. They had particular gods to whom they looked
for help in such catastrophes. The locust-scaring deities of
Greece and Asia were probably looked to in Egypt as well
(especially in view of the origins in Egypt of so many of those
religious ideas). The announcement of the plague falls into
the now-familiar pattern. God tells Moses to go and speak to
Pharaoh but reminds Moses that he has hardened his heart.
Yahweh explains that he has done this so that hemight show
his power, so that in turn they might declare his name from
generation to generation. This point is stressed so often that
it must not be minimized. God was laying the foundation of
the faith for Israel – the sovereignty of Yahweh.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
 tn The verb is י ִת ִשׁ (shiti, “I have put”); it is used here as a
synonym for the verb םי ׂ ִש (sim). Yahweh placed the signs in his
midst, where they will be obvious.
 tn Heb “in hismidst.”
 tn The expression is unusual: י ֵנ ְז ָא ְ ּב ר ֵ ּפ ַס ְ ּת (tÿsapper bÿ’ozne,
“[that] you may declare in the ears of”). The clause explains
an additional reason for God’s hardening the heart of Pha-
raoh, namely, so that the Israelites can tell their children of
God’s great wonders. The expression is highly poetic and
intense – like Ps 44:1, which says, “we have heard with our
ears.” The emphasis would be on the clear teaching, orally,
from one generation to another.
 tn The verb י ִ ּת ְל ַ ּל ַע ְת ִה (hit’allalti) is a bold anthropomor-
phism. The word means to occupy oneself at another’s ex-
pense, to toy with someone, which may be paraphrased with
“mock.” The whole point is that God is shaming and disgrac-
ing Egypt, making them look foolish in their arrogance and
stubbornness (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:366-67).
Some prefer to translate it as “I have dealt ruthlessly” with
Egypt (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 123).
 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the
 tn The word “about” is supplied to clarify this as another
object of the verb “declare.”
0 tn Heb “put” or “placed.”
 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav consecutive,
ם ֶ ּת ְע ַדי ִו (vida’tem, “and that you might know”). This provides
another purpose for God’s dealings with Egypt in the way that
he was doing. The form is equal to the imperfect tense with
vav (ו) prefixed; it thus parallels the imperfect that began v. 2
– “that youmight tell.”
 tn The verb is ָ ּת ְנ ַא ֵמ (me’anta), a Piel perfect. After “how
long,” the form may be classified as present perfect (“how
long have you refused), for it describes actions begun previ-
ously but with the effects continuing. (See GKC 311 §106.g-
h). The use of a verb describing a state or condition may also
call for a present translation (“how long do you refuse”) that
includes past, present, and potentially future, in keeping with
the question “how long.”
 tn The clause is built on the use of the infinitive construct
to express the direct object of the verb – it answers the ques-
tion of what Pharaoh was refusing to do. The Niphal infinitive
exodus 9:31 144
ple so that they may serve me! 10:4 But if you re-
fuse to release my people, I am going to bring
locusts into your territory tomorrow. 10:5 They
will cover the surface of the earth, so that you
will be unable to see the ground. They will eat the
remainder of what escaped – what is left over
for you – from the hail, and they will eat every
tree that grows for you from the field. 10:6 They
will fill your houses, the houses of your servants,
and all the houses of Egypt, such as neither0 your
fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since they
have been in the land until this day!’” ThenMo-
ses turned and went out from Pharaoh.
10:7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How
long will this man be a menace to us? Re-
lease the people so that they may serve the Lord
construct (note the elision of the ה [he] prefix after the prepo-
sition [see GKC 139 §51.l]) is from the verb ה ָנ ָע (’anah). The
verb in this stem would mean “humble oneself.” The ques-
tion is somewhat rhetorical, since God was not yet through
humbling Pharaoh, who would not humble himself. The issue
between Yahweh and Pharaoh is deeper than simply whether
or not Pharaoh will let the Israelites leave Egypt.
 tn י ִנ ְנ ִה (hinni) before the active participle אי ִב ֵמ (mevi’) is
the imminent future construction: “I am about to bring” or “I
am going to bring” – precisely, “here I am bringing.”
 tn One of the words for “locusts” in the Bible is ה ֶ ּב ְר ַא (’ar-
beh), which comes from ה ָב ָר (ravah, “to be much, many”). It
was used for locusts because of their immense numbers.
 tn Heb “within your border.”
 tn The verbs describing the locusts are singular because
it is a swarm or plague of locusts. This verb (ה ָ ּס ִכ ְו, vÿkhissah,
“cover”) is a Piel perfect with a vav consecutive; it carries the
same future nuance as the participle before it.
 tnHeb “eye,” an unusual expression (see v.15;Num 22:5,
 tn The text has ל ַכ ּוי א ֹל ְו ת ֹא ְר ִל (vÿlo’ yukhal lir’ot, “and he will
not be able to see”). The verb has no expressed subjects. The
clause might, therefore, be given a passive translation: “so
that [it] cannot be seen.” The whole clause is the result of the
previous statement.
 sn As the next phrase explains “what escaped” refers to
what the previous plague did not destroy. The locusts will de-
vour everything, because there will not be much left from the
other plagues for them to eat.
 tn ת ֶר ֶא ְשׁ ִ ּנ ַה (hannish’eret) parallels (by apposition) and
adds further emphasis to the preceding two words; it is the
Niphal participle,meaning “that which is left over.”
 tn The relative pronoun ר ֶשׁ ֲא (’asher) is occasionally used
as a comparative conjunction (see GKC 499 §161.b).
0 tn Heb “which your fathers have not seen, nor your fa-
thers’ fathers.”
 tn The Hebrew construction ם ָת ֹוי ֱה ם ֹו ּי ִמ (miyyom heyo-
tam, “from the day of their being”). The statement essentially
says that no one, even the elderly, could remember seeing a
plague of locusts like this. In addition, see B. Childs, “A Study
of the Formula, ‘Until This Day,’” JBL 82 (1963).
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 sn The question of Pharaoh’s servants echoes the ques-
tion ofMoses – “How long?” Now the servants of Pharaoh are
demanding what Moses demanded – “Release the people.”
They know that the land is destroyed, and they speak of it as
Moses’ doing. That way they avoid acknowledging Yahweh or
blaming Pharaoh.
 tn Heb “snare” (שׁ ֵק ֹומ, moqesh), a word used for a trap
for catching birds. Here it is a figure for the cause of Egypt’s
their God. Do you not know that Egypt is de-
10:8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back
to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the
Lord yourGod.Exactlywho is goingwith you?”
10:9Moses said, “We will go with our young and
our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with
our sheep and our cattle we will go, because we
are to hold a pilgrim feast for the Lord.”
10:10 He said to them, “The Lord will need
to be with you if I release you and your depen-
dents! Watch out!0 Trouble is right in front of
you! 10:11 No! Go, you men only, and serve
the Lord, for that is what you want.” Then
Moses andAaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s
 tnWiththeadverbם ֶר ֶט(terem),theimperfecttensereceives
a present sense: “Do you not know?” (See GKC 481 §152.r).
 tn The question is literally “who and who are the ones go-
ing?” (םי ִכ ְל ֹה ַה י ִמ ָו י ִמ, mi vami haholÿkhim). Pharaoh’s answer
to Moses includes this rude question, which was intended to
say that Pharaoh would control who went. The participle in
this clause, then, refers to the future journey.
 tn Heb “we have a pilgrim feast (ג ַח, khag) to Yahweh.”
 sn Pharaoh is by no means offering a blessing on them
in the name of Yahweh. Themeaning of his “wish” is connect-
ed to the next clause – as he is releasing them,may God help
them. S. R. Driver says that in Pharaoh’s scornful challenge
Yahweh is as likely to protect them as Pharaoh is likely to let
them go – not at all (Exodus, 80). He is planning to keep the
women and children as hostages to force the men to return.
U. Cassuto (Exodus, 125) paraphrases it this way: “May the
help of your God be as far from you as I am from giving you
permission to go forth with your little ones.” The real irony,
Cassuto observes, is that in the final analysis he will let them
go, and Yahweh will be with them.
 tn The context of Moses’ list of young and old, sons and
daughters, and the contrast with the word for strong “men” in
v. 11 indicates that ם ֶכ ְ ּפ ַט (tappÿkhem), often translated “little
ones” or “children,” refers to dependent people, noncomba-
tants in general.
0 tn Heb “see.”
 tn Heb “before your face.”
sn The “trouble” or “evil” that is before them could refer to
the evil that they are devising – the attempt to escape from
Egypt. But that does not make much sense in the sentence
– why would he tell them to take heed or look out about that?
U. Cassuto (Exodus, 126) makes a better suggestion. He ar-
gues that Pharaoh is saying, “Don’t pushme too far.” The evil,
then, would be what Pharaoh was going to do if these men
kept making demands on him. This fits the fact that he had
them driven out of his court immediately. There could also be
here an allusion to Pharaoh’s god Re’, the sun-deity and head
of the pantheon; he would be saying that the power of his god
would confront them.
 tn Heb “not thus.”
 tn The word is םי ִר ָב ְ ּג ַה (haggÿvarim, “the strong men”), a
word different from themore general one that Pharaoh’s ser-
vants used (v. 7). Pharaoh appears to be conceding, but he is
holding hostages. The word “only” has been supplied in the
translation to indicate this.
 tn The suffix on the sign of the accusative refers in a gen-
eral sense to the idea contained in the preceding clause (see
GKC 440-41 §135.p).
 tn Heb “you are seeking.”
 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Moses and Aaron) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn The verb is the Piel preterite, third person masculine
singular, meaning “and he drove them out.” But “Pharaoh”
cannot be the subject of the sentence, for “Pharaoh” is the
object of the preposition. The subject is not specified, and so
the verb can be treated as passive.
145 exodus 10:11
10:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your
hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that
they may come up over the land of Egypt and
eat everything that grows in the ground, every-
thing that the hail has left.” 10:13 So Moses ex-
tended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then
the Lord brought an east wind on the land all
that day and all night. The morning came,
and the east wind had brought up the locusts!
10:14 The locusts went up over all the land of
Egypt and settled down in all the territory of
Egypt. It was very severe; there had been no lo-
custs like them before, nor will there be such ever
again.0 10:15 They covered the surface of all
the ground, so that the ground became dark with
them, and they ate all the vegetation of the
ground and all the fruit of the trees that the hail
had left. Nothing green remained on the trees or
on anything that grew in the fields throughout the
whole land of Egypt.
 tn The preposition ְ ּב (bet) is unexpected here. BDB 91 s.v.
(the note at the end of the entry) says that in this case it can
only be read as “with the locusts,” meaning that the locusts
were thought to be implicit in Moses’ lifting up of his hand.
However, BDB prefers to change the preposition to ְל (lamed).
 tn The noun ב ׂ ֶ ּש ֵע (’esev) normally would indicate cultivated
grains, but in this context seems to indicate plants in general.
 tn The clause begins ה ָוהי ַו (va’adonay [vayhvah], “Now
Yahweh….”). In contrast to a normal sequence, this beginning
focuses attention on Yahweh as the subject of the verb.
 tn The verb ג ַה ָנ (nahag) means “drive, conduct.” It is else-
where used for driving sheep, leading armies, or leading in
 tn Heb “and all the night.”
 tn The text does not here use ordinary circumstantial
clause constructions; rather, Heb “the morning was, and the
east wind carried the locusts.” It clearly means “when it was
morning,” but the style chosen gives amore abrupt beginning
to the plague, as if the reader is in the experience – and at
morning, the locusts are there!
 tn The verb here is a past perfect, indicting that the lo-
custs had arrived before the day came.
 tn Heb “border.”
 tn This is an interpretive translation. The clause simply
has ד ֹא ְמ ד ֵב ָ ּכ (kavedmÿ’od), the stative verb with the adverb –
“it was very heavy.” The description prepares for the following
statement about the uniqueness of this locust infestation.
0 tn Heb “after them.”
 tn Heb “and they covered.”
 tn Heb “eye,” an unusual expression (see v. 5; Num
22:5, 11).
 tn The verb is ְך ַשׁ ְח ֶ ּת ַו (vattekhshakh, “and it became
dark”). The idea is that the ground had the color of the
swarms of locusts that covered it.
10:16 Then Pharaoh quickly summoned
Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned
against the Lord your God and against you!
10:17 So now, forgive my sin this time only, and
pray to the Lord your God that he would only
take this death away from me.” 10:18 Moses
went out0 from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord,
10:19 and the Lord turned a very strong west
wind, and it picked up the locusts and blew them
into the Red Sea. Not one locust remained in all
the territory of Egypt. 10:0But the Lord hardened
Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israel-
 sn The third part of the passage now begins, the confron-
tation that resulted from the onslaught of the plague. Pharaoh
goes a step further here – he confesses he has sinned and
adds a request for forgiveness. But his acknowledgment does
not go far enough, for this is not genuine confession. Since
his heart was not yet submissive, his confession was vain.
 tn The Piel preterite ר ֵה ַמ ְי ַו (vaymaher) could be translated
“and he hastened,” but here it is joined with the following in-
finitive construct to form the hendiadys. “He hurried to sum-
mon”means “He summoned quickly.”
 sn The severity of the plague prompted Pharaoh to con-
fess his sin against Yahweh and them, now in much stron-
ger terms than before. He also wants forgiveness – but in all
probability what he wants is relief from the consequences of
his sin. He pretended to convey toMoses that this was it, that
he was through sinning, so he asked for forgiveness “only this
 sn Pharaoh’s double emphasis on “only” uses two differ-
ent words and was meant to deceive. He was trying to give
Moses the impression that he had finally come to his senses,
and that he would let the people go. But he had no intention
of letting them out.
 sn “Death” is a metonymy that names the effect for the
cause. If the locusts are left in the land it will be death to ev-
erything that grows.
 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been speci-
fied in the translation for clarity.
0 tn Heb “and he went out.”
 tn Or perhaps “sea wind,” i.e., a wind off the Mediterra-
 tn The Hebrew name here is ף ּוס־ם ַי (Yam Suf), some-
times rendered “Reed Sea” or “Sea of Reeds.” The word ף ּוס
is a collective noun that may have derived from an Egyptian
name for papyrus reeds. Many English versions have used
“Red Sea,” which translates the name that ancient Greeks
used: ejruqrav qalavssa (eruqra qalassa).
sn The name Red Sea is currently applied to the sea west
of the Arabian Peninsula. The northern fingers of this body of
water extend along thewest and east sides of the Sinai Penin-
sula and are presently called the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of
Aqaba or the Gulf of Eilat. In ancient times the name applied
to amuch larger body of water, including the Arabian Sea and
the Persian Gulf (C. Houtman, Exodus, 1:109-10). See also
Num 14:25; 21:4; Deut 1:40; 2:1; Judg 11:16; 1 Kgs 9:26;
Jer 49:21. The sea was deep enough to drown the entire
Egyptian army later (and thus no shallow swamp land). God
drives the locusts to their death in the water. He will have the
same power over Egyptian soldiers, for he raised up this pow-
erful empire for a purpose and soon will drown them in the
sea. Themessage for the Israelites is that God will humble all
who refuse to submit.
exodus 10:1 146
The Ninth Blow: Darkness
10:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your
hand toward heaven so that there may be dark-
ness over the land of Egypt, a darkness so thick it
can be felt.”
10: So Moses extended his hand toward
heaven, and therewas absolute darkness through-
out the land of Egypt for three days. 10:3No one
could see another person, and no one could rise
from his place for three days. But the Israelites had
light in the places where they lived.
10:4 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and
said, “Go, serve the Lord – only your flocks and
herds will be detained. Even your families may
go with you.”
 sn The ninth plague is that darkness fell on all the land
– except on Israel. This plague is comparable to the silence
in heaven, just prior to the last and terrible plague (Rev 8:1).
Here Yahweh is attacking a core Egyptian religious belief as
well as portraying what lay before the Egyptians. Throughout
the Bible darkness is the symbol of evil, chaos, and judgment.
Blindness is one of its manifestations (see Deut 28:27-29).
But the plague here is not blindness, or even spiritual blind-
ness, but an awesome darkness from outside (see Joel 2:2;
Zeph 1:15). It is particularly significant in that Egypt’s high
god was the Sun God. Lord Sun was now being shut down by
Lord Yahweh. If Egypt would not let Israel go to worship their
God, then Egypt’s god would be darkness. The structure is fa-
miliar: the plague, now unannounced (21-23), and then the
confrontation with Pharaoh (24-27).
 tn Or “the sky” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew
term ם ִי ַמ ָשׁ (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky”
depending on the context.
 sn The verb form is the jussive with the sequential vav
– ְך ֶשׁ ֹח י ִהי ִו (vihi khoshekh). B. Jacob (Exodus, 286) notes this
as the only instance where Scripture says, “Let there be dark-
ness” (although it is subordinated as a purpose clause; cf.
Gen 1:3). Isa 45:7 alluded to this by saying, “who created light
and darkness.”
 tn The Hebrew termשׁ ּומ (mush)means “to feel.” The literal
rendering would be “so that one may feel darkness.” The im-
age portrays an oppressive darkness; it was sufficiently thick
to possess the appearance of substance, although it was just
air (B. Jacob, Exodus, 286).
 tn The construction is a variation of the superlative geni-
tive: a substantive in the construct state is connected to a
noun with the samemeaning (see GKC 431 §133.i).
 sn S. R. Driver says, “The darkness was no doubt occa-
sioned really by a sand-storm, produced by the hot electrical
wind…which blows in intermittently…” (Exodus, 82, 83). This
is another application of the antisupernatural approach to
these texts. The text, however, is probably describing some-
thing that was not a seasonal wind, or Pharaoh would not
have been intimidated. If it coincided with that season, then
what is described here is so different and so powerful that the
Egyptians would have known the difference easily. Pharaoh
here would have had to have been impressed that this was
something very abnormal, and that his god was powerless.
Besides, there was light in all the dwellings of the Israelites.
 tn Heb “aman…his brother.”
 tn The perfect tense in this context requires the some-
what rare classification of a potential perfect.
 tn Or “dependents.” The term is often translated “your
little ones,” but as mentioned before (10:10), this expression
in these passages takes in women and children and other
dependents. Pharaoh will now let all the people go, but he
intends to detain the cattle to secure their return.
10:5 But Moses said, “Will you also0 pro-
vide us with sacrifices and burnt offerings that
we may present them to the Lord our God?
10:6 Our livestock must also go with us! Not a
hoof is to be left behind! For we must take these
animals to serve the Lord our God. Until we ar-
rive there, we do not know what we must use to
serve the Lord.”
10:7 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,
and he was not willing to release them. 10:8 Pha-
raoh said to him, “Go from me! Watch out for
yourself! Do not appear before me again, for
when you see my face you will die!” 10:9Mo-
ses said, “As you wish!0 I will not see your face
0 tn B. Jacob (Exodus, 287) shows that the intent ofMoses
in using ם ַ ּג (gam) is to make an emphatic rhetorical question.
He cites other samples of the usage in Num 22:33; 1 Sam
17:36; 2 Sam 12:14, and others. The point is that if Pharaoh
told them to go and serve Yahweh, they had to have animals
to sacrifice. If Pharaoh was holding the animals back, he
would have tomake some provision.
 tn Heb “give into our hand.”
 tn The form here is ּוני ׂ ִ ּש ָע ְו (vÿ’asinu), the Qal perfect with
a vav (ו) consecutive – “and we will do.” But the verb means
“do” in the sacrificial sense – prepare them, offer them. The
verb form is to be subordinated here to form a purpose or re-
sult clause.
 tn This is the obligatory imperfect nuance. They were
obliged to take the animals if they were going to sacrifice, but
more than that, since they were not coming back, they had to
take everything.
 tn The samemodal nuance applies to this verb.
 tn Heb “from it,” referring collectively to the livestock.
 sn Moses gives an angry but firm reply to Pharaoh’s at-
tempt to control Israel; he makes it clear that he has no in-
tention of leaving any pledge with Pharaoh. When they leave,
they will take everything that belongs to them.
 tn The expression is י ָל ָע ֵמ ְך ֵל (lekh me’alay, “go from on
me”) with the adversative use of the preposition, meaning
from being a trouble or a burden to me (S. R. Driver, Exodus,
84; R. J.Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 51, §288).
 tn Heb “add to see my face.” The construction uses a
verbal hendiadys: “do not add to see” (ת ֹוא ְר ף ֶס ֹ ּת־ל ַא, ’al-toseph
rÿ’ot), meaning “do not see again.” The phrase “see my face”
means “come beforeme” or “appear beforeme.”
 tn The construction is ָך ְת ֹא ְר ם ֹוי ְ ּב (bÿyom rÿ’otÿkha), an ad-
verbial clause of time made up of the prepositional phrase,
the infinitive construct, and the suffixed subjective genitive.
“In the day of your seeing” is “when you see.”
0 tn Heb “Thus you have spoken.”
 tn This is a verbal hendiadys construction: “I will not add
again [to] see.”
147 exodus 10:9
The Tenth Blow: Death
11:1 The Lord said to Moses, “I will bring
one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after
that he will release you from this place. When he
releases you, he will drive you out completely
from this place. 11: Instruct the people that each
man and eachwoman is to request from his or her
neighbor items of silver and gold.”
 sn The last plague is themost severe; it is that forwhich all
the others were preliminary warnings. Up to this point Yahweh
had been showing his power to destroy Pharaoh, and now he
would begin to do so by bringing death to the Egyptians, a
death that would fulfill the warning of talionic judgment – “let
my son go, or I will kill your son.” The passage records the an-
nouncement of the judgment first toMoses and then through
Moses to Pharaoh. The first two verses record the word of
God to Moses. This is followed by a parenthetical note about
how God had elevated Moses and Israel in the eyes of Egypt
(v. 3). Then there is the announcement to Pharaoh (vv. 4-8).
This is followed by a parenthetical note on how God had hard-
ened Pharaoh so that Yahweh would be elevated over him. It
is somewhat problematic here that Moses is told not to see
Pharaoh’s face again. On the one hand, given the nature of
Pharaoh to blow hot and cold and to change hismind, it is not
impossible for another meeting to have occurred. But Moses
said he would not do it (v. 29). One solution some take is to
say that the warning in 10:28 originally stood after chapter
11. A change like that is unwarranted, and without support. It
may be that vv. 1-3 are parenthetical, so that the announce-
ment in v. 4 follows closely after 10:29 in the chronology. The
instruction to Moses in 11:1 might then have been given be-
fore he left Pharaoh or even before the interview in 10:24-29
took place. Another possibility, supported by usage in Akka-
dian, is that the expression “see my face” (and in v. 29 “see
your face”) has to do with seeking to have an official royal
audience (W. H. C. Propp, Exodus 1–18 [AB], 342). Pharaoh
thinks that he is finished with Moses, but as 11:8 describes,
Moses expects that in factMoses will soon be the one in a po-
sition like that of royalty granting an audience to Egyptians.
 tn The expression ה ָל ָ ּכ ֹוח ְ ּל ׂ ַ ּש ְ ּכ (kÿsallÿkho kalah) is difficult.
It seems to say, “as/when he releases [you] altogether.” The
LXX has “and when he sends you forth with everything.” Tg.
Onq. and modern translators make kala adverbial, “com-
pletely” or “altogether.” B. S. Childs follows an emendation to
read, “as one sends away a bride” (Exodus [OTL], 130). W. C.
Kaiser prefers the view of Yaron that would render it “in the
manner of one’s sending away a kallah [a slave purchased
to be one’s daughter-in-law]” (“Exodus,” EBC 2:370). The last
two readings call for revising the vocalization and introducing
a rare word into the narrative. The simplest approach is to fol-
low a meaning “when he releases [you] altogether,” i.e., with
all your people and your livestock.
 tn The words are emphatic: שׁ ֵר ָג ְי שׁ ֵר ָ ּג (garesh yÿgaresh). The
Piel verb means “to drive out, expel.” With the infinitive abso-
lute it says that Pharaoh “will drive you out vigorously.” He will
be glad to be rid of you – it will be a total expulsion.
 tn Heb “Speak now in the ears of the people.” The expres-
sion is emphatic; it seeks to ensure that the Israelites hear
the instruction.
 tn The verb translated “request” is ּול ֲא ְשׁ ִי ְו (vÿyish’alu), the
Qal jussive: “let them ask.” This is the point introduced in
Exod 3:22. The meaning of the verb might be stronger than
simply “ask”; itmight have something of the idea of “implore”
(see also its use in the naming of Samuel, who was “asked”
from Yahweh [1 Sam 1:20]).
 tn “each man is to request from his neighbor and each
woman from her neighbor.”
sn Here neighbor refers to Egyptian neighbors, who are
glad to see them go (12:33) and so willingly give their jewelry
and vessels.
 sn See D. Skinner, “SomeMajor Themes of Exodus,” Mid-
America Theological Journal 1 (1977): 31-42.
11:3 (Now the Lord granted the people favor
with the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses
was very great in the land of Egypt, respected by
Pharaoh’s servants and by the Egyptian people.)
11:4Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About
midnight0 I will go throughout Egypt, 11:5 and
all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from
the firstborn son of Pharaoh who sits on his
throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl who is
at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle.
11:6There will be a great cry throughout the whole
land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor
ever will be again. 11:7 But against any of the
Israelites not even a dog will bark against either
people or animals, so that youmay know that the
Lord distinguishes between Egypt and Israel.’
11:8All these your servants will come down to me
and bow down to me, saying, ‘Go, you and all
 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”
 tn Heb “in the eyes of the servants of Pharaoh and in the
eyes of the people.” In the translation the word “Egyptian”
has been supplied to clarify that the Egyptians and not the
Israelites aremeant here.
sn The presence of this clause about Moses, which is par-
enthetical in nature, further indicates why the Egyptians gave
rather willingly to the Israelites. They were impressed by Mo-
ses’ miracles and his power with Pharaoh. Moses was great
in stature – powerful and influential.
0 tn Heb “about themiddle of the night.”
 tn Heb “I will go out in themidst of Egypt.”
 sn The firstborn in Egyptian and Israelite cultures was
significant, but the firstborn of Pharaoh was most important.
Pharaoh was considered a god, the son of Re, the sun god,
for the specific purpose of ruling over Re’s chief concern, the
land of Egypt. For the purpose of re-creation, the supreme
god assumed the form of the living king and gave seed which
was to become the next king and the next “son of Re.” More-
over, the Pharaoh was the incarnation of the god Horus, a fal-
con god whose province was the heavens. Horus represented
the living king who succeeded the dead king Osiris. Every liv-
ing king was Horus, every dead king Osiris (see J. A. Wilson,
“Egypt,” Before Philosophy, 83-84). To strike any firstborn
was to destroy the heir, who embodied the hopes and aspira-
tions of the Egyptians, but to strike the firstborn son of Pha-
raoh was to destroy this cardinal doctrine of the divine king-
ship of Egypt. Such a blow would be enough for Pharaoh, for
then he would drive the Israelites out.
 tn Heb “which like it there has never been.”
 tn Heb “and like it it will not add.”
 tn Or perhaps “growl”; Heb “not a dog will sharpen his
tongue.” The expression is unusual, but it must indicate that
not only would no harm come to the Israelites, but that no
unfriendly threat would come against them either – not even
somuch as a dog barking. It is possible this is to be related to
the watchdog (see F. C. Fensham, “Remarks on Keret 114b
– 136a,” JNSL 11 [1983]: 75).
 tn Heb “againstman or beast.”
 tn The verb ה ָל ָ ּפ (palah) in Hiphil means “to set apart,
make separate, make distinct.” See also Exod 8:22 (18 HT);
9:4; 33:16.
 sn Moses’ anger is expressed forcefully. “He had ap-
peared before Pharaoh a dozen times either as God’s emis-
sary or when summoned by Pharaoh, but he would not come
again; now they would have to search him out if they needed
help” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 289-90).
exodus 11:1 148
the people who follow you,’ and after that I will
go out.” Then Moses went out from Pharaoh in
great anger.
11:9 The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will
not listen to you, so thatmywondersmay bemul-
tiplied in the land of Egypt.”
11:10 So Moses and Aaron did all these won-
ders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pha-
raoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israelites
from his land.
The Institution of the Passover
1:1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron
in the land of Egypt, 1: “This month is to be
your beginning of months; it will be your first
month of the year. 1:3 Tell the whole commu-
nity of Israel, ‘In the tenth day of this month they
each must take a lamb for themselves accord-
ing to their families0 – a lamb for each house-
hold. 1:4 If any household is too small for a
lamb, the man and his next-door neighbor
 tn Heb “that are at your feet.”
 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified
in the translation for clarity.
 sn The thought is essentially the same as in Exod 7:3-4,
but the wonders, or portents, here refer to what is yet to be
done in Egypt.
 sn Chapter 12 details the culmination of the ten plagues
on Egypt and the beginning of the actual deliverance from
bondage. Moreover, the celebration of this festival of Pass-
over was to become a central part of the holy calendar of
Israel. The contents of this chapter have significance for NT
studies as well, since the Passover was a type of the death of
Jesus. The structure of this section before the crossing of the
sea is as follows: the institution of the Passover (12:1-28), the
night of farewell and departure (12:29-42), slaves and strang-
ers (12:43-51), and the laws of the firstborn (13:1-16). In this
immediate section there is the institution of the Passover it-
self (12:1-13), then the Unleavened Bread (12:14-20), and
then the report of the response of the people (12:21-28).
 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
 tn Heb “saying.”
 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 294-95) shows that the intent of
the passage was not to make this month in the spring the
New Year – that was in the autumn. Rather, when counting
months this was supposed to be remembered first, for it was
the great festival of freedom from Egypt. He observes how
some scholars have unnecessarily tried to date one New Year
earlier than the other.
 tn Heb “and they will take for them aman a lamb.” This is
clearly a distributive, or individualizing, use of “man.”
 tn The ה ׂ ֶ ּש (seh) is a single head from the flock, or smaller
cattle, which would include both sheep and goats.
0 tnHeb“accordingtothehouseoftheirfathers.”Theexpres-
sion “house of the father” is a common expression for a family.
sn The Passover was to be a domestic institution. Each
lamb was to be shared by familymembers.
 tn Heb “house” (also at the beginning of the following
 sn Later Judaism ruled that “too small”meant fewer than
ten (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 88).
 tn The clause uses the comparative min (ן ִמ) construc-
tion: ה ׂ ֶ ּש ִמ ת ֹי ְה ִמ ת ִי ַ ּב ַה ט ַע ְמ ִי (yim’at habbayit mihyot miseh, “the
house is small from being from a lamb,” or “too small for a
lamb”). It clearly means that if there were not enough people
in the household to have a lamb by themselves, they should
join with another family. For the use of the comparative, see
GKC 430 §133.c.
 tn Heb “he and his neighbor”; the referent (theman) has
been specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “who is near to his house.”
are to take a lamb according to the number of
people – you will make your count for the lamb
according to how much each one can eat. 1:5
Your lamb must be perfect, a male, one
year old;0 you may take it from the sheep or
from the goats. 1:6 You must care for it un-
til the fourteenth day of this month, and then the
whole community of Israel will kill it around
sundown. 1:7 They will take some of the
blood and put it on the two side posts and top
of the doorframe of the houses where they will
 tn The construction uses a perfect tense with a vav (ו)
consecutive after a conditional clause: “if the household is
too small…then he and his neighbor will take.”
 tn Heb “[every]man according to his eating.”
sn The reference is normally taken to mean whatever each
person could eat. B. Jacob (Exodus, 299) suggests, however,
that the referencemaynotbe toeach individualperson’sappe-
tite, but to each family. Eachman who is the head of a house-
holdwas to determine howmuch his family could eat, and this
in turn would determine how many families shared the lamb.
 tn The construction has: “[The] lamb…will be to you.”
This may be interpreted as a possessive use of the lamed,
meaning, “[the] lamb…you have” (your lamb) for the Pass-
over. In the context instructing the people to take an animal
for this festival, the idea is that the one they select, their ani-
mal,mustmeet these qualifications.
 tn The Hebrew word םי ִמ ָ ּת (tamim) means “perfect” or
“whole” or “complete” in the sense of not having blemishes
and diseases – no physical defects. The rules for sacrificial
animals applied here (see Lev 22:19-21; Deut 17:1).
0 tn The idiom says “a son of a year” (ה ָנ ָשׁ ־ן ֶ ּב, ben shanah),
meaning a “yearling” or “one year old” (see GKC 418 §128.v).
 tn Because a choice is being given in this last clause, the
imperfect tense nuance of permission should be used. They
must have a perfect animal, but it may be a sheep or a goat.
The verb’s object “it” is supplied from the context.
 tn The text has ת ֶר ֶמ ְשׁ ִמ ְל ם ֶכ ָל ה ָי ָה ְו (vÿhaya lakem
lÿmishmeret, “and it will be for you for a keeping”). This noun
stresses the activity of watching over or caring for something,
probably to keep it in its proper condition for its designated
use (see 16:23, 32-34).
 tn Heb “all the assembly of the community.” This expres-
sion is a pleonasm. The verse means that everyone will kill
the lamb, i.e., each family unit among the Israelites will kill
its animal.
 tn Heb “between the two evenings” or “between the two
settings” (ם ִי ָ ּב ְר ַע ָה ןי ֵ ּב, ben ha’arbayim). This expression has had
a good deal of discussion. (1) Tg. Onq. says “between the two
suns,” which the Talmud explains as the time between the
sunset and the time the stars become visible.More technical-
ly, the first “evening” would be the time between sunset and
the appearance of the crescent moon, and the second “eve-
ning” the next hour, or from the appearance of the crescent
moon to full darkness (see Deut 16:6 – “at the going down
of the sun”). (2) Saadia, Rashi, and Kimchi say the first eve-
ning is when the sun begins to decline in the west and cast its
shadows, and the second evening is the beginning of night.
(3) The view adopted by the Pharisees and the Talmudists (b.
Pesahim 61a) is that the first evening is when the heat of the
sun begins to decrease, and the second evening begins at
sunset, or, roughly from 3-5 p.m. The Mishnah (m. Pesahim
5:1) indicates the lamb was killed about 2:30 p.m. – anything
before noon was not valid. S. R. Driver concludes from this
survey that the first view is probably the best, although the
last view was the traditionally accepted one (Exodus, 89-90).
Late afternoon or early evening seems to be intended, the
time of twilight perhaps.
149 exodus 1:7
eat it. 1:8 They will eat the meat the same
night; they will eat it roasted over the fire with
bread made without yeast and with bitter herbs.
1:9 Do not eat it raw or boiled in water, but roast
it over the fire with its head, its legs, and its en-
trails. 1:10You must leave nothing until morning,
but you must burn with fire whatever remains of
it until morning. 1:11 This is how you are to eat it
– dressed to travel, your sandals on your feet, and
your staff in your hand.You are to eat it in haste. It
is the Lord’s Passover.
1:1 I will pass through the land of Egypt
in the same night, and I will attack all the first-
born in the land of Egypt, both of humans and of
animals, and on all the gods of Egypt I will ex-
ecute judgment.0 I am the Lord. 1:13 The blood
will be a sign for you on the houses where you
are, so that when I see the blood I will pass
 tn Heb “this night.”
 sn Bread made without yeast could be baked quickly, not
requiring time for the use of a leavening ingredient to make
the dough rise. In Deut 16:3 the unleavened cakes are called
“the bread of affliction,” which alludes to the alarm and haste
of the Israelites. In later Judaism and in the writings of Paul,
leaven came to be a symbol of evil or corruption, and so “un-
leavened bread” – bread made without yeast – was inter-
preted to be a picture of purity or freedom from corruption or
defilement (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 90-91).
 sn This ruling was to prevent their eating it just softened
by the fire or partially roasted as differing customs might pre-
scribe or allow.
 tn Heb “your loins girded.”
 tn Themeaning of ח ַס ֶ ּפ (pesakh) is debated. (1) Some have
tried to connect it to the Hebrew verb with the same radicals
that means “to halt, leap, limp, stumble.” See 1 Kgs 18:26
where the word describes the priests of Baal hopping around
the altar; also the crippled child in 2 Sam 4:4. (2) Others con-
nect it to the Akkadian passahu, which means “to appease,
make soft, placate”; or (3) an Egyptian word to commemorate
the harvest (see J. B. Segal, The Hebrew Passover, 95-100).
The verb occurs in Isa 31:5 with the connotation of “to pro-
tect”; B. S. Childs suggests that this was already influenced
by the exodus tradition (Exodus [OTL], 183, n. 11). Whatever
links theremay ormay not have been that show an etymology,
in Exod 12 it is describing Yahweh’s passing over or through.
 tn The verb י ִ ּת ְר ַב ָע ְו (vÿ’avarti) is a Qal perfect with vav (ו)
consecutive, announcing the future action of God in bringing
judgment on the land. The word means “pass over, across,
through.” This verb provides a contextualmotive for the name
 tn Heb “this night.”
 tn The verb ה ָכ ָנ (nakhah) means “to strike, smite, attack”;
it does not always mean “to kill,” but that is obviously its out-
come in this context. This is also its use in 2:12, describing
howMoses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.
 tn Heb “fromman and to beast.”
0 tn The phrase םי ִט ָפ ְשׁ ה ׂ ֶש ֱע ֶא (’e’eseh shÿfatim) is “I will do
judgments.” The statement clearly includes what had begun
in Exod 6:1. But the statement that God would judge the gods
of Egypt is appropriately introduced here (see also Num 33:4)
because with the judgment on Pharaoh and the deliverance
from bondage, Yahweh would truly show himself to be the
one true God. Thus, “I am Yahweh” is fitting here (see B. Ja-
cob, Exodus, 312).
 tn Both of the verbs for seeing and passing over are per-
fect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives: י ִתי ִא ָר ְו…י ִ ּת ְח ַס ָפ ּו (vÿra’iti...
ufasakhti); the first of these parallel verb forms is subordinat-
ed to the second as a temporal clause. See Gesenius’s de-
scription of perfect consecutives in the protasis and apodosis
(GKC 494 §159.g).
over you, and this plague will not fall on you to
destroy you when I attack the land of Egypt.
1:14 This day will become a memorial for
you, and you will celebrate it as a festival to
the Lord – you will celebrate it perpetually as a
lasting ordinance.0 1:15 For seven days you
 tn The meaning of the verb is supplied in part from the
near context of seeing the sign and omitting to destroy, as
well as the verb at the start of verse 12 “pass through, by,
over.” Isa 31:5 says, “Just as birds hover over a nest, so the
Lord who commands armies will protect Jerusalem. He will
protect and deliver it; as he passes over he will rescue it.” The
word does not occur enough times to enable one to delineate
a clearmeaning. It is probably not the same word as “to limp”
found in 1 Kgs 18:21, 26, unless there is a highly developed
category ofmeaning there.
 tn The word “plague” (ף ֶג ֶנ, negef) is literally “a blow” or “a
striking.” It usually describes a calamity or affliction given to
those who have aroused God’s anger, as in Exod 30:12; Num
8:19; 16:46, 47; Josh 22:17 (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 92-93).
 tn Heb “for destruction.” The form תי ִח ְשׁ ַמ (mashkhit)
is the Hiphil participle of ת ַח ָשׁ (shakhat). The word itself is a
harsh term; it was used to describe Yahweh’s destruction of
Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 13:10).
 tn י ִת ֹ ּכ ַה ְ ּב (bÿhakkoti) is the Hiphil infinitive construct from
ה ָכ ָנ (nakhah), with a preposition prefixed and a pronominal
suffix added to serve as the subjective genitive – the subject
of this temporal clause. It is also used in 12:12.
 sn For additional discussions, seeW. H. Elder, “The Pass-
over,” RevExp 74 (1977): 511-22; E. Nutz, “The Passover,” BV
12 (1978): 23-28; H.M. Kamsler, “The Blood Covenant in the
Bible,” Dor le Dor 6 (1977): 94-98; A. Rodriguez, Substitution
in the Hebrew Cultus; B. Ramm, “The Theology of the Book of
Exodus: A Reflection on Exodus 12:12,” SwJT 20 (1977): 59-
68; and M. Gilula, “The Smiting of the First-Born: An Egyptian
Myth?” TA 4 (1977): 94-85.
 tn Heb “and this day will be.”
 tn The expression “will be for a memorial” means “will
become amemorial.”
sn The instruction for the unleavened bread (vv. 14-20)
begins with the introduction of the memorial (ן ֹור ָ ּכ ִז [zikkaron]
from ר ַכ ָז [zakhar]). The reference is to the fifteenth day of the
month, the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. B.
Jacob (Exodus, 315) notes that it refers to the death blow
on Egypt, but as a remembrance had to be held on the next
day, not during the night. He also notes that this was the ori-
gin of “the Day of the Lord” (“the Day of Yahweh”), which the
prophets predicted as the day of the divine battle. On it the
enemy would be wiped out. For further information, see B. S.
Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel (SBT). The point of the
word “remember” in Hebrew is not simply a recollection of an
event, but a reliving of it, a reactivating of its significance. In
covenant rituals “remembrance” or “memorial” is designed
to prompt God and worshiper alike to act in accordance with
the covenant. Jesus brought themotif forward to the new cov-
enant with “this do in remembrance ofme.”
 tn The verb ם ֶת ֹ ּג ַח ְו (vÿkhaggotem), a perfect tense with the
vav (ו) consecutive to continue the instruction, is followed by
the cognate accusative ג ַח (khag), for emphasis. As the word-
ing implies and the later legislation required, this would in-
volve a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Yahweh.
0 tn Two expressions show that this celebration was to
be kept perpetually: the line has “for your generations, [as]
a statute forever.” “Generations” means successive genera-
tions (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 94). ם ָל ֹוע (’olam) means “ever, for-
ever, perpetual” – no end in sight.
 tn This expression is an adverbial accusative of time. The
feast was to last from the 15th to the 21st of themonth.
exodus 1:8 150
must eat bread made without yeast. Surely on
the first day you must put away yeast from your
houses because anyone who eats bread made with
yeast from the first day to the seventh day will be
cut off from Israel.
1:16 On the first day there will be a holy
convocation, and on the seventh day there will
be a holy convocation for you. You must do no
work of any kind on them, only what every
person will eat – that alone may be prepared for
you. 1:17 So you will keep the Feast of Unleav-
ened Bread, because on this very day I brought
your regiments out from the land of Egypt, and
so you must keep this day perpetually as a last-
 tn Or “you will eat.” The statement stresses their obliga-
tion – theymust eat unleavened bread and avoid all leaven.
 tn The etymology of ת ֹו ּצ ַמ (matsot, “unleavened bread,”
i.e., “bread made without yeast”) is uncertain. Suggested
connections to known verbs include “to squeeze, press,” “to
depart, go out,” “to ransom,” or to an Egyptian word “food,
cake, evening meal.” For a more detailed study of “unleav-
ened bread” and relatedmatters such as “yeast” or “leaven,”
see A. P. Ross, NIDOTTE 4:448-53.
 tn The particle serves to emphasize, not restrict here (B.
S. Childs, Exodus [OTL], 183, n. 15).
 tn Heb “every eater of leavened bread.” The participial
phrase stands at the beginning of the clause as a casus pen-
dens, that is, it stands grammatically separate from the sen-
tence. It names a condition, the contingent occurrences of
which involve a further consequence (GKC 361 §116.w).
 tn The verb ה ָת ְר ְכ ִנ ְו (vÿnikhrÿtah) is the Niphal perfect with
the vav (ו) consecutive; it is a common formula in the Law for
divine punishment. Here, in sequence to the idea that some-
one might eat bread made with yeast, the result would be
that “that soul [the verb is feminine] will be cut off.” The verb
is the equivalent of the imperfect tense due to the consecu-
tive; a translation with a nuance of the imperfect of possibility
(“may be cut off”) fits better perhaps than a specific future.
There is the real danger of being cut off, for while the punish-
ment might include excommunication from the community,
the greater danger was in the possibility of divine intervention
to root out the evildoer (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 94). Gesenius
lists this as the use of a perfect with a vav consecutive after a
participle (a casus pendens) to introduce the apodosis (GKC
337 §
sn In Lev 20:3, 5-6, God speaks of himself as cutting off
a person from among the Israelites. The rabbis mentioned
premature death and childlessness as possible judgments in
such cases, and N. M. Sarna comments that “one who de-
liberately excludes himself from the religious community of
Israel cannot be a beneficiary of the covenantal blessings”
(Exodus [JPSTC], 58).
 sn This refers to an assembly of the people at the sanc-
tuary for religious purposes. The word “convocation” implies
that the people were called together, and Num 10:2 indicates
they were called together by trumpets.
 tn Heb “all/every work will not be done.” The word refers
primarily to the work of one’s occupation. B. Jacob (Exodus,
322) explains that since this comes prior to the fuller descrip-
tion of laws for Sabbaths and festivals, the passage simply
restricts all work except for the preparation of food. Once the
laws are added, this qualification is no longer needed. Ge-
senius translates this as “no manner of work shall be done”
(GKC 478-79 §152.b).
 tn Heb “on the bone of this day.” The expression means
“the substance of the day,” the day itself, the very day (S. R.
Driver, Exodus, 95).
 tn The word is “armies” or “divisions” (see Exod 6:26 and
the note there; cf. also 7:4). The narrative will continue to por-
tray Israel as amighty army,marching forth in its divisions.
ing ordinance.0 1:18 In the first month, from
the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening,
you will eat bread made without yeast until the
twenty-first day of the month in the evening.
1:19 For seven days yeast must not be found in
your houses, for whoever eats what is made with
yeast – that person will be cut off from the com-
munity of Israel, whether a foreigner or one born
in the land. 1:0 You will not eat anything made
with yeast; in all the places where you live you
must eat bread made without yeast.’”
1:1 Then Moses summoned all the elders of
Israel, and told them, “Go and select for your-
selves a lamb or young goat for your families,
and kill the Passover animals. 1:Take a branch
of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin,
and apply to the top of the doorframe and the two
side posts some of the blood that is in the basin.Not
one of you is to go out0 the door of his house until
morning. 1:3 For the Lord will pass through to
strike Egypt, and when he sees the blood on the
top of the doorframe and the two side posts, then
the Lord will pass over the door, and he will not
permit the destroyer to enter your houses to strike
you. 1:4Youmust observe this event as an ordi-
0 tn See Exod 12:14.
 tn “month” has been supplied.
 tn “Seven days” is an adverbial accusative of time (see
R. J.Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12, §56).
 tn The term is שׁ ֶפ ֶנ (nefesh), often translated “soul.” It re-
fers to the whole person, the soul within the body. The noun is
feminine, agreeing with the feminine verb “be cut off.”
 tn Or “alien”; or “stranger.”
 tn Heb “draw out and take.” The verb has in view the
need “to draw out” a lamb or goat selected from among the
rest of the flock.
 tn The Hebrew noun is singular and can refer to either a
lamb or a goat. Since English has no common word for both,
the phrase “a lamb or young goat” is used in the translation.
 tn The word “animals” is added to avoid giving the im-
pression in English that the Passover festival itself is the ob-
ject of “kill.”
 sn The hyssop is a small bush that grows throughout
the Sinai, probably the aromatic herb Origanum Maru L., or
Origanum Aegyptiacum. The plant also grew out of the walls
in Jerusalem (1 Kgs 4:33). See L. Baldensperger and G. M.
Crowfoot, “Hyssop,” PEQ 63 (1931): 89-98. A piece of hys-
sop was also useful to the priests because it worked well for
 tn The Greek and the Vulgate translate ף ַס (saf, “basin”)
as “threshold.” W. C. Kaiser reports how early traditions grew
up about the killing of the lamb on the threshold (“Exodus,”
EBC 2:376).
0 tn Heb “and you, you shall not go out, a man from the
door of his house.” This construction puts stress on prohibit-
ing absolutely everyone from going out.
 tn The first of the two clauses begun with perfects and
vav consecutives may be subordinated to form a temporal
clause: “and he will see…and he will pass over,” becomes
“when he sees…he will pass over.”
 tn Here the form is the Hiphil participle with the definite
article. Gesenius says this is now to be explained as “the de-
stroyer” although some take it to mean “destruction” (GKC
406 §126.m, n. 1).
 tn “you” has been supplied.
151 exodus 1:4
nance for you and for your children forever.
1:5When you enter the land that the Lord will
give to you, just as he said, you must observe
this ceremony. 1:6 When your children ask
you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’
– 1:7 then you will say, ‘It is the sacrifice of
the Lord’s Passover, when he passed over the
houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck
Egypt and delivered our households.’” The people
bowed down low to the ground, 1:8 and the Is-
raeliteswent away and did exactly as the Lord had
commandedMoses andAaron.
The Deliverance from Egypt
1:9 It happened at midnight – the Lord
attacked all the firstborn in the land of Egypt,
from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his
throne to the firstborn of the captive who was
in the prison, and all the firstborn of the cattle.
1:30 Pharaoh got up in the night,0 along with
 tn The verb used here and at the beginning of v. 24 is ר ַמ ָשׁ
(shamar); it can be translated “watch, keep, protect,” but in
this context the point is to “observe” the religious customs
and practices set forth in these instructions.
 tn Heb “what is this service to you?”
 sn This expression “the sacrifice of Yahweh’s Passover”
occurs only here. The word ח ַב ֶז (zevakh)means “slaughtering”
and so a blood sacrifice. The fact that this word is used in Lev
3 for the peace offering has linked the Passover as a kind of
peace offering, and both the Passover and the peace offer-
ings were eaten as communalmeals.
 tn The verbmeans “to strike, smite, plague”; it is the same
verb that has been used throughout this section (ף ַג ָנ, nagaf).
Here the construction is the infinitive construct in a temporal
 tn The two verbs form a verbal hendiadys: “and the peo-
ple bowed down and they worshiped.” The words are synony-
mous, and so one is taken as the adverb for the other.
 tn Heb “went away and did as the Lord had commanded
Moses and Aaron, so they did.” The final phrase “so they did,”
which is somewhat redundant in English, has been repre-
sented in the translation by the adverb “exactly.”
 sn The next section records the deliverance of Israel from
Egypt, and so becomes the turning point of the book. Verses
28 and 29 could be included in the exposition of the previous
section as the culmination of that part. The message might
highlight God’s requirement for deliverance from bondage
through the application of the blood of the sacrifice, God’s
instruction for the memorial of deliverance through the purg-
ing of corruption, and the compliance of those who believed
themessage. But these verses also form the beginning of this
next section (and so could be used transitionally). This unit in-
cludes the judgment on Egypt (29-30), the exodus from Egypt
(31-39) and the historical summation and report (40-42).
 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator י ִה ְי ַו
(vayÿhi), often translated “and it came to pass.” Here it could
be left untranslated: “In the middle of the night Yahweh at-
tacked.” The word order of the next andmain clause furthers
the emphasis by means of the vav disjunctive on the divine
name preceding the verb. The combination of these initial
and disjunctive elements helps to convey the suddenness of
the attack, while its thoroughness is stressed by the repeti-
tion of “firstborn” in the rest of the verse, the merism (“from
the firstborn of Pharaoh…to the firstborn of the captive”), and
themention of cattle.
 tn Heb “arose,” the verb ם ּוק (qum) in this context certainly
must describe a less ceremonial act. The entire country woke
up in terror because of the deaths.
0 tn The noun is an adverbial accusative of time – “in the
night” or “at night.”
all his servants and all Egypt, and therewas a great
cry in Egypt, for there was no house in which
therewas not someone dead. 1:31 Pharaoh sum-
moned Moses and Aaron in the night and said,
“Get up, get out from among my people, both
you and the Israelites! Go, serve the Lord as you
have requested! 1:3Also, take your flocks and
your herds, just as you have requested, and leave.
But bless me also.”
1:33 The Egyptians were urging the peo-
ple on, in order to send them out of the land
quickly, for they were saying, “We are all
dead!” 1:34 So the people took their dough be-
fore the yeast was added, with their knead-
ing troughs bound up in their clothing on their
shoulders. 1:35 Now the Israelites had done as
Moses told them – they had requested from the
Egyptians0 silver and gold items and clothing.
 sn Or so it seemed. One need not push this description
to complete literalness. The reference would be limited to
houses that actually had firstborn people or animals. In a so-
ciety in which households might include more than one gen-
eration of humans and animals, however, the presence of a
firstborn human or animal would be the rule rather than the
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 tn The urgency in Pharaoh’s words is caught by the
abrupt use of the imperatives – “get up, go” ( ּוא ְ ּצ ּומ ּוק, qumu
tsÿ’u), and “go, serve” ( ּוד ְב ִע ּוכ ְל ּו, ulÿkhu ’ivdu) and “take” and
“leave/go” ( ּוח ְק… ּוכ ֵל ָו, qÿkhu...valekhu).
 tn Heb “as you have said.” The same phrase also occurs
in the following verse.
sn It appears from this clause that Pharaoh has given up
attempting to impose restrictions as he had earlier. With the
severe judgment on him for his previous refusals he should
now know that these people are no longer his subjects, and
he is no longer sovereign. As Moses had insisted, all the Isra-
elites would leave, and with all their possessions, to worship
 tn The form is the Piel perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive
(ם ֶ ּת ְכ ַר ֵב ּו, uverakhtem); coming in the sequence of imperatives
this perfect tense would be volitional – probably a request
rather than a command.
sn Pharaoh probablymeant that they should bless him also
when they were sacrificing to Yahweh in their religious festi-
val – after all, he might reason, he did let them go (after di-
vine judgment). To bless him wouldmean to invoke good gifts
from God for him.
 tn The verb used here (ק ַז ָח, khazaq) is the same verb
used for Pharaoh’s heart being hardened. It conveys the idea
of their being resolved or insistent in this – they were not go-
ing to change.
 tn The phrase uses two construct infinitives in a hendi-
adys, the first infinitive becoming themodifier.
 tn The imperfect tense after the adverb ם ֶר ֶט (terem) is to
be treated as a preterite: “before it was leavened,” or “before
the yeast was added.” See GKC 314-15 §107.c.
 tn The verbs “had done” and then “had asked” were ac-
complished prior to the present narrative (S. R. Driver, Exo-
dus, 99). The verse beginswith disjunctiveword order to intro-
duce the reminder of earlier background information.
0 tn Heb “from Egypt.” Here the Hebrew text uses the
name of the country to represent the inhabitants (a figure
known asmetonymy).
exodus 1:5 15
1:36The Lord gave the people favor in the sight
of the Egyptians, and they gave them whatever
they wanted, and so they plundered Egypt.
1:37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses
toSukkoth.Therewereabout600,000menon foot,
plus their dependants. 1:38 A mixed multitude
 tn The holy name (“Yahweh,” represented as “the Lord” in
the translation) has the vav disjunctive with it. Itmay have the
force: “Now it was Yahweh who gave the people favor….”
 sn God was destroying the tyrant and his nobles and the
land’s economy because of their stubborn refusal. But God
established friendly, peaceful relations between his people
and the Egyptians. The phrase is used outside Exod only in
Gen 39:21, referring to Joseph.
 tn The verb ם ּול ִא ְשׁ ַ ּי ַו (vayyash’ilum) is a Hiphil form that has
the root ל ַא ָשׁ (sha’al), used earlier in Qal with themeaning “re-
quested” (12:35). The verb here is frequently translated “and
they lent them,” but lending does not fit the point. What they
gave the Israelites were farewell gifts sought by demanding or
asking for them. Thismay exemplify a “permissive” use of the
Hiphil stem, in which “the Hiphil designates an action that is
agreeable to the object and allowed by the subject” (B. T. Ar-
nold and J. H. Choi, A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, 52).
 sn See B. Jacob, “The Gifts of the Egyptians; A Critical
Commentary,” Journal of Reformed Judaism 27 (1980): 59-
 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel journeyed.”
 sn The wilderness itinerary begins here. W. C. Kaiser re-
cords the identification of these two places as follows: The
name Rameses probably refers to Qantir rather than Tanis,
which is more remote, because Qantir was by the water; Suk-
koth is identified as Tell elMaskhuta in theWadi Tumilat near
modern Ismailia – or the region around the city (“Exodus,”
EBC 2:379). Of the extensive bibliography, see G. W. Coats,
“The Wilderness Itinerary,” CBQ 34 (1972): 135-52; G. I. Da-
vies, “The Wilderness Itineraries: A Comparative Study,” Tyn-
Bul 25 (1974): 46-81; and J. T.Walsh, “From Egypt toMoab. A
Source Critical Analysis of the Wilderness Itinerary,” CBQ 39
(1977): 20-33.
 tn The word for “men” (םי ִר ָב ְ ּג ַה, haggÿvarim) stresses their
hardiness and capability – strongmen, potential soldiers – in
contrast with the word that follows and designates noncom-
sn There have beenmany attempts to calculate the popula-
tion of the exodus group, but nothing in the text gives the ex-
act number other than the 600,000 people on foot who were
men. Estimates of twomillion people are very large, especial-
ly since the Bible says there were seven nations in the land
of Canaan mightier than Israel. It is probably not two million
people (note, the Bible never said it was – this is calculated by
scholars). But attempts to reduce the number by redefining
the word “thousand” tomean clan or tribe or family unit have
not been convincing, primarily because of all the tabulations
of the tribes in the different books of the Bible that have to be
likewise reduced. B. Jacob (Exodus, 347) rejects themany ar-
guments and calculations as the work of eighteenth century
deists and rationalists, arguing that the numbers were taken
seriously in the text. Somewriters interpret the numbers as in-
flated due to a rhetorical use of numbers, arriving at a number
of 60,000 or so for themen here listed (reducing it by a factor
of ten), and insisting this is a literal interpretation of the text
as opposed to a spiritual or allegorical approach (see R. Al-
len, “Numbers,” EBC 2:686-96; see also G.Mendenhall, “The
Census Lists of Numbers 1 and 26,” JBL 77 [1958]: 52-66).
This proposal removes the “embarrassingly” large number for
the exodus, but like other suggestions, lacks completely com-
pelling evidence. For amore extensive discussion of the large
numbers used to describe the Israelites in their wilderness
experience, see the note on “46,500” in Num 1:21.
 tn Formore on this word see 10:10 and 24.
 tn The “mixedmultitude” (ב ַרב ֶר ֵע, ’erev rav) refers to a great
“swarm” (seeapossiblecognate in8:21[17])of folkwho joined
the Israelites, people who were impressed by the defeat of
also went up with them, and flocks and herds – a
very large number of cattle.0 1:39 They baked
cakes of bread without yeast using the dough they
had brought from Egypt, for it was made without
yeast – because theywere thrust out of Egypt and
were not able to delay, they could not prepare
food for themselves either.
1:40 Now the length of time the Israelites
lived in Egypt was 430 years. 1:41At the end of
the 430 years, on the very day, all the regiments
of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt. 1:4 It
was a night of vigil for the Lord to bring them out
from the land of Egypt, and so on this night all
Israel is to keep the vigil to the Lord for genera-
tions to come.
Participation in the Passover
1:43 The Lord said to Moses and Aar-
on, “This is the ordinance of the Passover. No
Egypt, who came to faith, or who just wanted to escape Egypt
(maybe slaves or descendants of the Hyksos). The expres-
sion prepares for later references to riffraff who came along.
0 tn Heb “and verymuch cattle.”
 sn For the use of this word in developing the motif, see
Exod 2:17, 22; 6:1; and 11:1.
 tn Heb “and also.”
 tn The verb is ּו ׂש ָע (’asu, “theymade”); here, with a poten-
tial nuance, it is rendered “they could [not] prepare.”
 sn Here as well some scholars work with the number
430 to try to reduce the stay in Egypt for the bondage. Some
argue that if the number included the time in Canaan, that
would reduce the bondage by half. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 102)
notes that P thought Moses was the fourth generation from
Jacob (6:16-27), if those genealogies are not selective. Exo-
dus 6 has Levi – Kohath – Amram – Moses. This would re-
quire a period of about 100 years, and that is unusual. There
is evidence, however, that the list is selective. In 1 Chr 2:3-20
the text has Bezalel (see Exod 31:2-5) a contemporary ofMo-
ses and yet the seventh from Judah. Elishama, a leader of the
Ephraimites (Num 10:22), was in the ninth generation from
Jacob (1 Chr 7:22-26). Joshua, Moses’ assistant, was the
eleventh from Jacob (1 Chr 7:27). So the “four generations”
leading up to Moses are not necessarily complete. With re-
gard to Exod 6, K. A. Kitchen has argued that the four names
do not indicate successive generations, but tribe (Levi), clan
(Kohath), family (Amram), and individual (Moses; K. A. Kitch-
en, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, 54-55). For a detailed
discussion of the length of the sojourn, see E. H. Merrill, A
Kingdom of Priests, 75-79.
 sn This military term is used elsewhere in Exodus (e.g.,
6:26; 7:4; 12:17, 50), but here the Israelites are called “the
regiments of the Lord.”
 tn There is some ambiguity in ה ָוהי ַלא ּוה םי ִר ֻ ּמ ִשׁ לי ֵל (lel shim-
murim hu’ la’adonay [layhveh]). It is likely that this first clause
means that Yahweh was on watch for Israel to bring them out,
as the next clause says. He was protecting his people (S. R.
Driver, Exodus, 102). Then, the night of vigilwill be transferred
to Israel, who nowmust keep it “to” him.
 tn “and so” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “this night is for Yahweh a vigil for all Israelites for
their generations.”
 sn The section that concludes the chapter contains reg-
ulations pertaining to the Passover. The section begins at v.
43, but vv. 40-42 form a good setting for it. In this unit vv.
43-45 belong together because they stress that a stranger
and foreigner cannot eat. Verse 46 stands by itself, ruling that
the meal must be eaten at home. Verse 47 instructs that the
whole nation was to eat it. Verses 48-49 make provision for
foreigners who may wish to participate. And vv. 50-51 record
the obedience of Israel.
153 exodus 1:43
foreigner may share in eating it. 1:44 But ev-
eryone’s servant who is bought for money, after
you have circumcised him, may eat it. 1:45A for-
eigner and a hired worker must not eat it. 1:46 It
must be eaten in one house; you must not bring
any of the meat outside the house, and you must
not break a bone of it. 1:47The whole community
of Israel must observe it.
1:48 “When a foreigner lives with you and
wants to observe the Passover to the Lord, all his
males must be circumcised, and then he may ap-
proach and observe it, and he will be like one who
is born in the land – but no uncircumcised person
may eat of it. 1:49 The same law will apply to
the person who is native-born and to the foreigner
who lives among you.”
1:50 So all the Israelites did exactly as the
Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. 1:51 And
on this very day the Lord brought the Israelites out
of the land of Egypt by their regiments.
The Law of the Firstborn
13:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 13: “Set
apart0 to me every firstborn male – the first
 tn This is taken in the modal nuance of permission, read-
ing that no foreigner is permitted to share in it (apart from be-
ing amember of the household as a circumcised slave [v. 44]
or obeying v. 48, if a free individual).
 tn This is the partitive use of the bet (ב) preposition, ex-
pressing that the action extends to something and includes
the idea of participation in it (GKC 380 §119.m).
 tn Both the participle “foreigner” and the verb “lives” are
from the verb ר ּו ּג (gur), which means “to sojourn, to dwell as
an alien.” This reference is to a foreigner who settles in the
land. He is the protected foreigner;when he comes to another
area where he does not have his clan to protect him, hemust
come under the protection of the Law, or the people. If the
“resident foreigner” is circumcised, he may participate in the
Passover (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 104).
 tn The infinitive absolute functions as the finite verb here,
and “every male” could be either the object or the subject
(see GKC 347 § and 387 §121.a).
 tn ח ָר ְז ֶא (’ezrakh) refers to the native-born individual, the
native Israelite as opposed to the “stranger, alien” (S. R. Driv-
er, Exodus, 104); see alsoW. F. Albright, Archaeology and the
Religion of Israel, 127, 210.
 tn Heb “one law will be to.”
 tn Heb “did as the Lord had commanded Moses and
Aaron, so they did.” The final phrase “so they did,” which is
somewhat redundant in English, has been represented in the
translation by the adverb “exactly.”
 sn This next section seems a little confusing at first
glance: vv. 1 and 2 call for the dedication of the firstborn, then
vv. 3-10 instruct concerning the ritual of the Feast of Unleav-
ened Bread, and then vv. 11-16 return to the firstborn. B. Ja-
cob (Exodus, 360) explains that vv. 3-16 contain a sermon,
in which Moses “began his speech by reminding the people
of the events which had just occurred and how they would
be recalled by them in the future,” and then he explained the
rulings that went along with it. So the first two verses state the
core of the sermon, a new command calling for the redeemed
(firstborn) to be sanctified. The second portion stresses that
God requires the redeemed to remember their redemption by
purifying themselves (3-10). The third section (11-16) devel-
ops the theme of dedication to Yahweh. The point is that in
view of God’smighty redemption, the redeemed (represented
by the firstborn)must be set apart for Yahweh’s service.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke.”
0 tn The verb “sanctify” is the Piel imperative of שׁ ַד ָק (qa-
dash). In the Qal stem it means “be holy, be set apart, be dis-
offspring of every womb among the Israelites,
whether human or animal; it is mine.”
13:3 Moses said to the people, “Remember
this day on which you came out from Egypt, from
the place where you were enslaved, for the Lord
brought you out of there with a mighty hand
– and no bread made with yeast may be eaten.
13:4 On this day, in the month ofAbib, you are
going out.
13:5 When0 the Lord brings you to the land
of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites,
and Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers
to give you, a land flowing with milk and hon-
ey, then you will keep this ceremony in this
tinct,” and in this stem “sanctify, set apart.”
sn Here is the central principle of the chapter – the firstborn
were sacred to God and must be “set apart” (the meaning of
the verb “sanctify”) for his use.
 tn The word ר ֶ ּט ֶ ּפ (petter) means “that which opens”; this
construction literally says, “that which opens every womb,”
which means “the first offspring of every womb.” Verses 12
and 15 further indicatemale offspring.
 tn Heb “to me it.” The preposition here expresses pos-
session; the construction is simply “it [is, belongs] tome.”
 tn The form is the infinitive absolute of ר ַכ ָז (zakhar, “re-
member”). The use of this form in place of the imperative
(also found in the Decalogue with the Sabbath instruction)
stresses the basic meaning of the root word, everything in-
volved with remembering (emphatic imperative, according to
GKC 346 § The verb usually implies that there will be
proper action based on what was remembered.
sn There is a pattern in the arrangement of vv. 3-10 and 11-
16. Both sections contain commands based on the mighty
deliverance as reminders of the deliverance. “With a mighty
hand” occurs in vv. 3, 9, 14, 16. An explanation to the son
is found in vv. 8 and 14. The emphases “sign on your hand”
and “between your eyes” are part of the conclusions to both
halves (vv. 9, 16).
 tn Heb “from a house of slaves.” “House” is obviously
not meant to be literal; it indicates a location characterized
by slavery, a land of slaves, as if they were in a slave house.
Egypt is also called an “iron-smelting furnace” (Deut 4:20).
 tn Heb “from this” [place].
 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; it could be rendered
“must not be eaten” in the nuance of the instruction or injunc-
tion category, but permission fits this sermonic presentation
very well – nothing with yeastmay be eaten.
 tn The word ם ֹו ּי ַה (hayyom)means literally “the day, today,
this day.” In this sentence it functions as an adverbial accusa-
tive explaining when the event took place.
 sn Abib appears to be an old name for themonth,mean-
ing something like “[month of] fresh young ears” (Lev 2:14
[Heb]) (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 106). B. Jacob (Exodus, 364) ex-
plains that these names were not precise designations, but
general seasons based on the lunar year in the agricultural
 tn The form is the active participle, functioning verbally.
0 tn Heb “and it will be when.”
 tn See notes on Exod 3:8.
 tn The verb is ָ ּת ְד ַב ָע ְו (vÿ’avadta), the Qal perfect with a
vav (ו) consecutive. It is the equivalent of the imperfect tense
of instruction or injunction; it forms the main point after the
temporal clause – “when Yahweh brings you out…then you
will serve.”
 tn The object is a cognate accusative for emphasis on
the meaning of the service – “you will serve this service.” W.
C. Kaiser notes how this noun was translated “slavery” and
“work” in the book, but “service” or “ceremony” for Yahweh.
Israel was saved from slavery to Egypt into service for God as
remembered by this ceremony (“Exodus,” EBC 2:383).
exodus 1:44 154
month. 13:6 For seven days you must eat bread
made without yeast, and on the seventh day there
is to be a festival to the Lord. 13:7 Bread made
without yeast must be eaten for seven days; no
bread made with yeast shall be seen among you,
and youmust have no yeast among youwithin any
of your borders.
13:8 You are to tell your son on that day, ‘It
is because of what0 the Lord did for me when I
came out of Egypt.’ 13:9 It will be a sign for
you on your hand and a memorial on your fore-
head, so that the law of the Lord may be in
your mouth, for with a mighty hand the Lord
 tn Heb “Seven days.”
 tn The imperfect tense functions with the nuance of in-
struction or injunction. It could also be given an obligatory nu-
ance: “youmust eat” or “you are to eat.” Some versions have
simplymade it an imperative.
 tn The phrase “there is to be” has been supplied.
 tn The imperfect has the nuance of instruction or injunc-
tion again, but it could also be given an obligatory nuance.
 tn The construction is an adverbial accusative of time,
answering how long the routine should be followed (see GKC
374 §118.k).
 tn Or “visible to you” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 366).
 tn The form is the Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו) consecu-
tive, carrying the sequence forward: “and you will declare to
your son.”
sn A very important part of the teaching here is the man-
ner in which thememory of the deliverance will be retained in
Israel – they were to teach their children the reasons for the
feast, as a binding law forever. This will remind the nation of
its duties to Yahweh in gratitude for the great deliverance.
 tn Heb “day, saying.” “Tell…saying” is redundant, so “say-
ing” has not been included in the translation here.
 tn “it is” has been supplied.
0 tn The text uses ה ֶז (zeh), which Gesenius classifies as
the use of the pronoun to introduce a relative clause after the
preposition (GKC 447 §138.h) – but he thinks the form is cor-
rupt. B. S. Childs, however, sees no reason to posit a corrup-
tion in this form (Exodus [OTL], 184).
 sn This passage has, of course, been taken literally by
many devout Jews, and portions of the text have been en-
cased in phylacteries and bound on the arm and forehead.
B. Jacob (Exodus, 368), weighing the pros and cons of the
literal or the figurative meaning, says that those who took it
literally should not be looked down on for their symbolic work.
In many cases, he continues, it is the spirit that kills and the
letter makes alive – because people who argue against a lit-
eral usage do so to excuse lack of action. This is a rather inter-
esting twist in the discussion. The point of the teaching was
obviously meant to keep the Law of Yahweh in the minds of
the people, to remind them of their duties.
 tn That is, this ceremony.
 tn Heb “for a sign.”
 tn Heb “for amemorial.”
 tn Heb “between your eyes” (KJV and ASV both similar);
the same expression occurs in v. 16.
sn That these festivals and consecrations were to be signs
and memorials is akin to the expressions used in the book of
Proverbs (Prov 3:3, “bind them around your neck…write them
on your heart”). The people were to use the festivals as out-
ward and visible tokens to remind them to obey what the Law
 tn The purpose of using this ceremony as a sign and a
memorial is that the Law might be in their mouth. The imper-
fect tense, then, receives the classification of final imperfect
in the purpose clause.
 sn “Mouth” is ametonymy of cause; the point is that they
should be ever talking about the Law as their guide as they go
about their duties (see Deut 6:7; 11:19; Josh 1:8).
 tn This causal clause gives the reason for what has just
brought you out ofEgypt. 13:10So youmust keep
this ordinance at its appointed time from year to
13:11 When the Lord brings you into the
land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and
to your fathers, and gives it to you, 13:1 then
you must give over to the Lord the first off-
spring of every womb. Every firstling of a
beast that you have – the males will be the
Lord’s. 13:13 Every firstling of a donkey
you must redeem0 with a lamb, and if you do
not redeem it, then you must break its neck.
been instructed. Because Yahweh delivered them from bond-
age, he has the strongest claims on their life.
 tn The form is a perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecu-
tive, functioning as the equivalent of an imperfect of instruc-
tion or injunction.
0 tn Or “every year,” or “year after year.”
 tn Heb “and it will be when Yahweh brings (will bring)
 sn The name “the Canaanite” (and so collective for “Ca-
naanites”) is occasionally used to summarize all the list of Ca-
naanitish tribes that lived in the land.
 tn The verb ּה ָנ ָת ְנ ּו (unÿtanah) is the Qal perfect with the
vav (ו) consecutive; this is in sequence to the preceding verb,
and forms part of the protasis, the temporal clause. Themain
clause is the instruction in the next verse.
 tn The unusual choice of words in this passage reflects
the connection with the deliverance of the firstborn in the
exodus when the Lord passed over the Israelites (12:12,
23). Here the Law said, “you will cause to pass over ( ָ ּת ְר ַב ֲע ַה ְו,
vÿha’avarta) to Yahweh.” The Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו)
provides themain clause after the temporal clauses. Yahweh
here claimed the firstborn as his own. The remarkable thing
about this is that Yahweh did not keep the firstborn that was
dedicated to him, but allowed the child to be redeemed by his
father. It was an acknowledgment that the life of the child be-
longed to God as the one redeemed from death, and that the
child represented the family. Thus, the observance referred to
the dedication of all the redeemed to God.
sn It was once assumed by some scholars that child sacri-
fice lay behind this text in the earlier days, but that the priests
and prophets removed those themes. Apart from the fact that
there is absolutely no evidence for anything like that, the Law
forbade child sacrifice, and always used child sacrifice as the
sample of what not to do in conformity with the pagans (e.g.,
Deut 12:31). Besides, how absurd would it be for Yahweh to
redeem the firstborn from death and then ask Israel to kill
them. See further B. Jacob, Exodus, 371.
 tn Heb “every opener of a womb,” that is, the firstborn
from every womb.
 tn The descriptive noun ר ֶג ֶשׁ (sheger) is related to the verb
“drop, cast”; it refers to a newly born animal that is dropped or
cast from the womb. The expression then reads, “and all that
first open [the womb], the casting of a beast.”
 tn Heb “that is to you.” The preposition expresses pos-
 tn The Hebrew text simply has “the males to Yahweh.”
It indicates that the Lord must have them, or they belong to
the Lord.
 tn Heb “and every opener [of a womb].”
0 tn The verb ה ֶ ּד ְפ ִ ּת (tifdeh), the instructional imperfect,
refers to the idea of redemption by paying a cost. This word
is used regularly of redeeming a person, or an animal, from
death or servitude (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 109).
 tn The conditional clause uses an imperfect tense; this
is followed by a perfect tense with the vav consecutive provid-
ing the obligation or instruction. The ownermight not redeem
the donkey, but if he did not, he could not keep it, he had to
kill it by breaking its neck (so either a lamb for it, or the don-
key itself). The donkey could not be killed by shedding blood
because that wouldmake it a sacrifice, and that was not pos-
sible with this kind of animal. See G. Brin, “The Firstling of
155 exodus 13:13
Every firstborn of your sons you must redeem.
13:14 In the future, when your son asks you
‘What is this?’ you are to tell him, ‘With amighty
hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from
the land of slavery. 13:15 When Pharaoh stub-
bornly refused to release us, the Lord killed all
the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the first-
born of people to the firstborn of animals. That is
why I am sacrificing0 to the Lord the first male
offspring of every womb, but allmy firstborn sons
I redeem.’ 13:16 It will be for a sign on your hand
and for frontlets on your forehead, for with a
mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”
Unclean Animals,” JQR 68 (1977): 1-15.
 tn Heb “and every firstborn ofman among your sons.” The
addition of “man” is clearly meant to distinguish firstborn hu-
mans from animals.
sn One was to sacrifice the firstborn animals to Yahweh,
but the children were to be redeemed by their fathers. The
redemption price was five shekels (Num 18:15-16).
 sn As with v. 8, the Law now requires that the children be
instructed on the meaning of this observance. It is a memo-
rial of the deliverance from bondage and the killing of the
firstborn in Egypt.
 tn Heb “tomorrow.”
 tn Heb “and it will be when your son will ask you.”
 tn The question is cryptic; it simply says, “What is this?”
but certainly refers to the custom just mentioned. It asks,
“What does thismean?” or “Why do we do this?”
 tn The expression is “with strength of hand,” making
“hand” the genitive of specification. In translation “strength”
becomes the modifier, because “hand” specifies where the
strength was. But of course the whole expression is anthropo-
morphic for the power of God.
 tn Heb “house of slaves.”
 tn Heb “dealt hardly in letting us go” or “made it hard to
let us go” (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 110). The verb is the sim-
ple Hiphil perfect ה ָשׁ ְק ִה (hiqshah, “he made hard”); the infini-
tive construct ּונ ֵח ְ ּל ַשׁ ְל (lÿshallÿkhenu, “to release us”) could be
taken epexegetically, meaning “he made releasing us hard.”
But the infinitivemore likely gives the purpose or the result af-
ter the verb “hardened himself.” The verb is figurative for “be
stubborn” or “stubbornly refuse.”
 tn The text uses “man” and “beast.”
0 tn The form is the active participle.
 tn The word is ת ֹפ ָט ֹוט (totafot, “frontlets”). The etymology
is uncertain, but the word denotes a sign or an object placed
on the forehead (seem. Shabbat 6:1). The Gemara interprets
it as a band that goes from ear to ear. In the Targum to 2 Sam
1:10 it is an armlet worn by Saul (see S. R. Driver, Exodus,
110). These bands may have resembled the Egyptian prac-
tice of wearing as amulets “forms of words written on folds of
papyrus tightly rolled up and sewn in linen” (W. C. Kaiser, Jr.,
“Exodus,” EBC 2:384).
 sn The pattern of the passage now emerges more clear-
ly; it concerns the grateful debt of the redeemed. In the first
part eating the unleavened bread recalls the night of deliver-
ance in Egypt, and it calls for purity. In the second part the
dedication of the firstborn was an acknowledgment of the
deliverance of the firstborn from bondage. They were to re-
member the deliverance and choose purity; they were to re-
member the deliverance and choose dedication. The NT will
also say, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a
price, therefore, glorify God” (1 Cor 6:20). Here too the truths
of God’s great redemptionmust be learned well and retained
well from generation to generation.
The Leading of God
13:17 When Pharaoh released the people,
God did not lead them by the way to the land
of the Philistines, although that was nearby,
for God said, “Lest0 the people change their
minds and return to Egypt when they experi-
ence war.” 13:18 So God brought the people
around by the way of the desert to the Red Sea,
 sn This short section (vv. 17-22) marks the beginning of
the journey of the Israelites toward the sea and Sinai. The em-
phasis here is on the leading of Yahweh – but this leading
is manifested in a unique, supernatural way – unlikely to be
repeated with these phenomena. Although a primary applica-
tion of such a passagewould be difficult, the general principle
is clear: God, by his clear revelation, leads his people to the
fulfillment of the promise. This section has three short parts:
the leading to the sea (17-18), the bones of Joseph (19), and
the leading by the cloud and pillar (20-22).
 tn The construction for this temporal clause is the tem-
poral indicator with the vav (ו) consecutive, the Piel infinitive
construct with a preposition, and then the subjective genitive
 sn The verb ה ָח ָנ (nakhah, “to lead”) is a fairly common
word in the Bible for God’s leading of his people (as in Ps 23:3
for leading in the paths of righteousness). This passage illus-
trates what others affirm, that God leads his people in a way
that is for their own good. There were shorter routes to take,
but the people were not ready for them.
 tn The word “way” is an adverbial accusative, providing
the location for the verb “lead”; it is in construct so that “land
of the Philistines” is a genitive of either indirect object (“to the
land”) or location (“in” or “through” the land).
 sn The termPhilistines has been viewed bymodern schol-
arship as an anachronism, since the Philistines were not be-
lieved to have settled in the region until the reign of Rameses
III (in which case the term would not fit either the early or the
late view of the exodus). But the OT clearly refers to Philistines
in the days of the patriarchs. The people there in the earlier
period may have been Semites, judging from their names, or
theymay have beenmigrants from Crete in the early time. The
Philistines after the exodus were of Greek origin. The danger
of warfare at this time was clearly with Canaanitish tribes. For
further details, see K. A. Kitchen, “The Philistines,” Peoples of
Old Testament Times, 53-54; J.M. Grintz, “The Immigration of
the First Philistines in the Inscriptions,” Tarbiz 17 (1945): 32-
42, and Tarbiz 19 (1947): 64; and E. Hindson, The Philistines
and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1970), 39-59.
 tn The particle י ִ ּכ (ki) introduces a concessive clause
here (see R. J.Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §448).
 tn Or “thought.”
0 tn Before a clause this conjunction ן ֶ ּפ (pen) expresses
fear or precaution (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 75-76,
§461). Itmay be translated “lest, else,” or “what if.”
 tn ם ֵח ָ ּנ ִי (yinnakhem) is the Niphal imperfect of ם ַח ָנ
(nakham); it would normally be translated “repent” or “re-
lent.” This nontheological usage gives a good illustration of
the basic meaning of having a change of mind or having re-
 tn Heb “see.”
 tn The Hebrew term ף ּוס־ם ַי (Yam Suf) cannot be a geni-
tive (“wilderness of the Red Sea”) because it follows a noun
that is not in construct; instead, itmust be an adverbial accu-
sative, unless it is simply joined by apposition to “the wilder-
ness” – the way to the wilderness [and] to the Red Sea (B. S.
Childs, Exodus [OTL], 217).
sn The translation of this name as “Red Sea” comes from
the sea’s Greek name in the LXX and elsewhere. The Red Sea
on today’s maps is farther south, below the Sinai Peninsula.
But the title Red Sea in ancient timesmay very well have cov-
ered both the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba (see Deut
1:1; 1 Kgs 9:26). The name “Sea of Reeds” in various Eng-
lish versions (usually in the form of amarginal note) and com-
mentaries reflects the meaning of the Hebrew word ף ּוס a
exodus 13:14 156
and the Israelites went up from the land of Egypt
prepared for battle.
13:19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with
him, for Joseph had made the Israelites solemn-
ly swear, “God will surely attend to you, and
you will carry my bones up from this place with
13:0 They journeyed from Sukkoth and
camped in Etham, on the edge of the desert.
13:1 Now the Lord was going before them
by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them in the
way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them
light, so that they could travel day or night.
13: He did not remove the pillar of cloud by
word for reedy water plants (Exod 2:3, 5; Isa 19:6; Jonah 2:6
[Eng. v. 5]) thatmay have a connection with an Egyptian word
used for papyrus and othermarsh plants. On this basis some
have taken the term Yam Suph as perhaps referring to Lake
Menzaleh or Lake Ballah, which have abundant reeds, north
of the extension of the Red Sea on the western side of Sinai.
Whatever exact body of water is meant, it was not merely a
marshy swamp that the people waded through, but a body
of water large enough to make passage impossible without
divine intervention, and deep enough to drown the Egyptian
army. Lake Menzaleh has always been deep enough to pre-
clude passage on foot (E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 66).
Among themany sources dealingwith the geography, seeB. F.
Batto, “The Reed Sea: Requiescat in Pace,” JBL 102 (1983):
27-35; M. Waxman, “I Miss the Red Sea,” Conservative Ju-
daism 18 (1963): 35-44; G. Coats, “The Sea Tradition in the
Wilderness Theme: A Review,” JSOT 12 (1979): 2-8; and K. A.
Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, 261-63.
 tn The term םי ִשׁ ֻמ ֲח (khamushim) is placed first for empha-
sis; it forms a circumstantial clause, explaining how they went
up. Unfortunately, it is a rare word with uncertain meaning.
Most translations have something to do with “in battle array”
or “prepared to fight” if need be (cf. Josh 1:14; 4:12). The Tar-
gum took it as “armed with weapons.” The LXX had “in the
fifth generation.” Some have opted for “in five divisions.”
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “solemnly swear, saying” (so NASB). The construc-
tion uses the Hiphil infinitive absolute with the Hiphil perfect
to stress that Joseph had made them take a solemn oath to
carry his bones out of Egypt. “Saying” introduces the content
of what Joseph said.
 sn This verb appears also in 3:16 and 4:31. The repetition
here is a reminder that God was doing what he had said he
would do and what Joseph had expected.
 tn The form is a Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive;
it follows in the sequence of the imperfect tense before it, and
so is equal to an imperfect of injunction (because of the sol-
emn oath). Israel took Joseph’s bones with them as a sign of
piety toward the past and as a symbol of their previous bond
with Canaan (B. Jacob, Exodus, 380).
 sn God chose to guide the people with a pillar of cloud
in the day and one of fire at night, or, as a pillar of cloud and
fire, since they represented his presence. God had already
appeared to Moses in the fire of the bush, and so here again
is revelation with fire. Whatever the exact nature of these
things, they formed direct, visible revelations from God, who
was guiding the people in a clear and unambiguous way. Both
clouds and fire would again and again represent the pres-
ence of God in his power andmajesty, guiding and protecting
his people, by judging their enemies.
 tn The infinitive construct here indicates the result of
thesemanifestations – “so that they went” or “could go.”
 tn These are adverbial accusatives of time.
day nor the pillar of fire by night from before the
The Victory at the Red Sea
14:10 The Lord spoke toMoses: 14: “Tell the
Israelites that they must turn and camp before
Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you are
to camp by the sea before Baal Zephon opposite
it. 14:3 Pharaoh will think regarding the Israel-
ites, ‘They arewandering around confused in the
land – the desert has closed in on them.’ 14:4 I
will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase
after them. I will gain honor because of Pharaoh
and because of all his army, and the Egyptians will
know that I am the Lord.” So this is what they
14:5 When it was reported0 to the king of
Egypt that the people had fled, the heart of
 sn See T. W. Mann, “The Pillar of Cloud in the Reed Sea
Narrative,” JBL 90 (1971): 15-30.
0 sn The account recorded in this chapter is one of the
best known events in all of Scripture. In the argument of the
book itmarks the division between the bondage in Egypt and
the establishment of the people as a nation. Here is the de-
liverance from Egypt. The chapter divides simply in two, vv. 1-
14 giving the instructions, and vv. 15-31 reporting the victory.
See among others, G. Coats, “History and Theology in the Sea
Tradition,” ST 29 (1975): 53-62); A. J. Ehlen, “Deliverance
at the Sea: Diversity and Unity in a Biblical Theme,” CTM 44
(1973): 168-91; J. B. Scott, “God’s Saving Acts,” The Presby-
terian Journal 38 (1979): 12-14;W.Wifall, “The Sea of Reeds
as Sheol,” ZAW 92 (1980): 325-32.
 tn The two imperfects follow the imperative and there-
fore express purpose. The point in the verses is that Yahweh
was giving the orders for the direction of the march and the
encampment by the sea.
 sn The places have been tentatively identified. W. C. Kai-
ser summarizes the suggestions that Pi-Hahiroth as an Egyp-
tian word may mean “temple of the [Syrian god] Hrt” or “The
Hir waters of the canal” or “The Dwelling of Hator” (“Exodus,”
EBC 2:387; see the literature on these names, including C.
DeWit, The Date and Route of the Exodus, 17).
 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will say.”
 sn The word translated “wandering around confused”
indicates that Pharaoh thought the Israelites would be so
perplexed and confused that they would not know which way
to turn in order to escape – and they would never dream of
crossing the sea (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 115).
 tn The expression has also been translated “the desert
has shut [the way] for them,” and more freely “[the Israelites
are] hemmed in by the desert.”
 tn In this place the verb ק ַז ָח (hazaq) is used; it indicates
that God wouldmake Pharaoh’s will strong or firm.
 tn The form is ה ָד ְב ָ ּכ ִא ְו (vÿ’ikkavÿda), the Niphal cohorta-
tive; coming after the perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives
expressing the future, this cohortative indicates the purpose
of the hardening and chasing. Yahweh intended to gain glory
by this final and great victory over the strength of Pharaoh.
There is irony in this expression since a different form of the
word was used frequently to describe Pharaoh’s hard heart.
So judgment will not only destroy the wicked – it will reveal
the glory andmajesty of the sovereignty of God.
 tn This is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive.
But it announces the fulfillment of a long standing purpose –
that theymight know.
 tn Heb “and they did so.”
0 tn Heb “and it was told.” The present translation uses
“reported,” since this involves information given to a supe-
 tn The verb must be given a past perfect translation be-
cause the fleeing occurred before the telling.
157 exodus 14:5
Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the
people, and the king and his servants said, “What
in the world have we done? For we have released
the people of Israel from serving us!” 14:6 Then
he prepared his chariots and took his army with
him. 14:7He took six hundred select chariots, and
all the rest of the chariots of Egypt, and officers
on all of them.
14:8 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pha-
raoh king of Egypt, and he chased after the Is-
raelites. Now the Israelites were going out de-
fiantly. 14:9 The Egyptians chased after them,
and all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh and
his horsemen and his army overtook them camp-
ing by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-
Zephon. 14:10 When0 Pharaoh got closer, the
Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyp-
tians marching after them, and they were ter-
rified. The Israelites cried out to the Lord,
 tn Heb “and they said.” The referent (the king and his ser-
vants) is supplied for clarity.
 tn The question literally is “What is this we have done?”
The demonstrative pronoun is used as an enclitic particle for
emphasis (R. J.Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).
 tn Heb “released Israel.” By metonymy the name of the
nation is used collectively for the people who constitute it (the
 tn Heb “bound.”
 tn Heb “his people.”
 tn The passive participle of the verb “to choose” means
that these were “choice” or superb chariots.
 tn Heb “every chariot of Egypt.” After the mention of the
best chariots, themeaning of this description is “all the other
 tn The word ם ִשׁ ִל ָשׁ (shalishim) means “officers” or some
special kind of military personnel. At one time it was taken
to mean a “three man chariot,” but the pictures of Egyptian
chariots only show two in a chariot. Itmaymean officers near
the king, “men of the third rank” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 394). So
the chariots and the crew represented the elite. See the old
view by A. E. Cowley that linked it to a Hittite word (“A Hittite
Word in Hebrew,” JTS 21 [1920]: 326), and the more recent
work by P. C. Craigie connecting it to Egyptian “commander”
(“An Egyptian Expression in the Song of the Sea: Exodus
XV.4,” VT 20 [1970]: 85).
 tn Heb “with a high hand”; the expression means “defi-
antly,” “boldly,” or “with confidence.” The phrase is usually
used for arrogant sin and pride, the defiant fist, as itwere. The
image of the high hand can alsomean the hand raised to de-
liver a blow (Job 38:15). So the narrative here builds tension
between these two resolute forces.
0 tn The disjunctive vav introduces a circumstantial clause
 tn Heb “drew near.”
 tn Heb “lifted up their eyes,” an expression that indicates
an intentional and careful looking – they looked up and fixed
their sights on the distance.
 tn The construction uses ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) with the partici-
ple, traditionally rendered “and behold, the Egyptians were
marching after them.” The deictic particle calls attention in a
dramatic way to what was being seen. It captures the surprise
and the sudden realization of the people.
 tn The verb “feared” is intensified by the adverb ד ֹא ְמ
(mÿ’od): “they feared greatly” or “were terrified.” In one look
their defiant boldness seems to have evaporated.
 sn Their cry to the Lord was proper and necessary. But
their words to Moses were a rebuke and disloyal, showing a
lack of faith and understanding. Their arrogance failed them
in the crisis because it was built on the arm of flesh. Moses
would have to get used to this murmuring, but here he takes
it in stride and gives them the proper instructions. They had
14:11 and they said to Moses, “Is it because there
are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us
away to die in the desert? What in the world
have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
14:1 Isn’t thiswhatwe told you in Egypt, ‘Leave
us alone so that we can serve the Egyptians,0 be-
cause it is better for us to serve the Egyptians
than to die in the desert!’”
14:13 Moses said to the people, “Do not
fear! Stand firm and see the salvation of
the Lord that he will provide for you today;
for the Egyptians that you see today you will
cried to the Lord, and now the Lord would deliver.
 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 396-97) notes how the speech is
overly dramatic and came from a people given to using such
exaggerations (Num 16:14), even using a double negative.
The challenge to Moses brings a double irony. To die in the
desert would be without proper burial, but in Egypt there were
graves – it was a land of tombs and graves! Gesenius notes
that two negatives in the sentence do not nullify each other
but make the sentence all the more emphatic: “Is it because
there were no graves…?” (GKC 483 §152.y).
 tn The demonstrative pronoun has the enclitic use again,
giving a special emphasis to the question (R. J. Williams, He-
brew Syntax, 24, §118).
 tn The Hebrew term ּונ ָאי ִ ּצ ֹוה ְל (lÿhotsi’anu) is the Hiphil
infinitive construct with a suffix, “to bring us out.” It is used
epexegetically here, explaining the previous question.
 tn Heb “Is not this the word that we spoke to you.”
0 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 164) explains this statement by
the people as follows: “The question appears surprising at
first, for we have not read previously that such words were
spoken toMoses. Nor is the purport of the protest of the Isra-
elite foremen (v 21 [5:21]) identical with that of the words ut-
tered now. However, from a psychological standpoint themat-
ter can be easily explained. In the hour of peril the children
of Israel remember that remonstrance, and now it seems to
them that it was of a sharper character and flowed from their
foresight, and that the present situation justifies it, for death
awaits them at this moment in the desert.” This declaration
that “we told you so,” born of fright, need not have been strict-
ly accurate or logical.
 tn Heb “better for us to serve.”
 tn Since Hebrew does not use quotation marks to indi-
cate the boundaries of quotations, there is uncertainty about
whether the Israelites’ statement in Egypt includes the end
of v. 12 or consists solely of “leave us alone so that we can
serve the Egyptians.” In either case, the command to Moses
to leave them alone rested on the assumption, spoken or
unspoken, that serving Egypt would be less risky than what
Moses was proposing. Now with the Egyptian army on the ho-
rizon, the Israelites are sure that their worst predictions are
about to take place.
 tn The use of ל ַא (’al) with the jussive has the force of
“stop fearing.” It is a more immediate negative command
than א ֹל (lo’) with the imperfect (as in the Decalogue).
 tn The force of this verb in the Hitpael is “to station one-
self” or “stand firm” without fleeing.
 tn The form is an imperative with a vav (ו). It could also be
rendered “stand firm and you will see”meaning the result, or
“stand firm that youmay see”meaning the purpose.
 tn Or “victory” (NAB) or “deliverance” (NIV, NRSV).
 tn Heb “do,” i.e., perform or accomplish.
exodus 14:6 158
never, ever see again. 14:14 The Lord will fight
for you, and you can be still.”
14:15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you
cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
14:16And as for you, lift up your staff and extend
your hand toward the sea and divide it, so that
the Israelitesmay go through themiddle of the sea
on dry ground. 14:17And as for me, I am going to
harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they
will come after them, that I may be honored be-
cause0 of Pharaoh and his army and his chariots
and his horsemen. 14:18 And the Egyptians will
know that I am the Lord when I have gained my
honor because of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his
14:19 The angel of God, who was going be-
fore the camp of Israel, moved and went be-
hind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from
 tn The construction uses a verbal hendiadys consisting of
a Hiphil imperfect (“you will not add”) and a Qal infinitive con-
struct with a suffix (“to see them”) – “you will no longer see
them.” Then the clause adds “again, for ever.”
sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 164) notes that the antithetical par-
allelism between seeing salvation and seeing the Egyptians,
as well as the threefold repetition of the word “see” cannot
be accidental; so too the alliteration of the last three words
beginning with ayin (ע).
 tn The word order places emphasis on “the Lord” (Heb
 tn The imperfect tense needs to be interpreted in contrast
to all that Yahweh will be doing. Itmay be given a potential im-
perfect nuance (as here), or it may be obligatory to follow the
command to stand firm: “youmust be still.”
 tn The text literally says, “speak to the Israelites that they
may journey.” The intent of the line, using the imperative with
the subordinate jussive or imperfect expressing purpose is
that the speaking is the command tomove.
 tn The conjunction plus pronoun (“and you”) is emphatic
– “and as for you” – before the imperative “lift up.” In con-
trast, v. 17 begins with “and as forme, I….”
 tn The imperfect (or jussive) with the vav (ו) is sequential,
coming after the series of imperatives instructing Moses to
divide the sea; the form then gives the purpose (or result) of
the activity – “that theymay go.”
 tn י ִנ ְנ ִה (hinni) before the participle gives it the force of a
futur instans participle, meaning “I am about to harden” or “I
am going to harden” their heart.
 tn The form again is the imperfect tense with vav (ו) to ex-
press the purpose or the result of the hardening. The repeti-
tion of the verb translated “come” is interesting: Moses is to
divide the sea in order that the peoplemay cross, but God will
harden the Egyptians’ hearts in order that theymay follow.
 tn For the comments on this verb see the discussion in v.
4. God would get glory by defeating Egypt.
0 tn Or “I will get glory over.”
 tn The construction is unusual in that it says, “And Egypt
will know.” The verb is plural, and so “Egypt”mustmean “the
Egyptians.” The verb is the perfect tense with the vav con-
secutive, showing that this recognition or acknowledgment
by Egypt will be the result or purpose of the defeat of them
by God.
 tn The form is י ִד ְב ָ ּכ ִה ְ ּב (bÿhikkavÿdi), the Niphal infinitive
construct with a preposition and a suffix. For the suffix on a
Niphal, see GKC 162-63 §61.c. The word forms a temporal
clause in the line.
 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 400-401) makes a good case that
there may have been only one pillar, one cloud; it would have
been a dark cloud behind it, but in front of it, shining the way,
a pillar of fire. He compares themanifestation on Sinai, when
the mountain was on fire but veiled by a dark cloud (Deut
4:11; 5:22). See also Exod 13:21; Num 14:14; Deut 1:33;
before them and stood behind them. 14:0 It came
between the Egyptian camp and the Israelite camp;
it was a dark cloud and it lit up the night so that
one camp did not come near the other the whole
night. 14:1Moses stretched out his hand toward
the sea, and the Lord drove the sea apart by a
strong eastwind all that night, and hemade the sea
into dry land, and the water was divided. 14: So
the Israeliteswent through themiddle of the sea on
dry ground, thewater forming awall for them on
their right and on their left.
14:3 The Egyptians chased them and fol-
lowed them into the middle of the sea – all
the horses of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his
Neh 9:12, 19; Josh 24:7; Pss 78:14; 105:39.
 tn The two nouns “cloud” and “darkness” form a nomi-
nal hendiadys: “and it was the cloud and the darkness”
means “and it was the dark cloud.” Perhaps this is what the
Egyptians saw, preventing them from observing Moses and
the Israelites.
 tn Heb “this to this”; for the use of the pronouns in this
reciprocal sense of “the one to the other,” see GKC 448
§139.e, n. 3.
 tc The LXX reads very differently at the end of this
verse: “and there was darkness and blackness and the night
passed.” B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 218) summarizes three
proposals: (1) One takes the MT as it stands and explains it
along the lines of the Targum and Jewish exegesis, that there
was one cloud that was dark to one group and light to the
other. (2) Another tries to reconstruct a verb from the noun
“darkness” or make some use of the Greek verb. (3) A third
seeks a different meaning for the verb “lit,” “gave light” by
comparative philology, but no consensus has been reached.
Given that there is no easy solution apart from reconstructing
the text, and given that the MT can be interpreted as it is, the
present translation follows theMT.
 tn Or “drove the sea back” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV). The
verb is simply the Hiphil of ְך ַל ָה (halakh, “to walk, go”). The
context requires that it be interpreted along the lines of “go
back, go apart.”
 tn The clause literally reads, “and the waters [were] for
them awall.” Theword order in Hebrew is disjunctive, with the
vav (ו) on the noun introducing a circumstantial clause.
sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 119), still trying to explain things
with natural explanations, suggests that a northeast wind is
to be thought of (an east wind would be directly in their face
he says), such as a shallow ford might cooperate with an ebb
tide in keeping a passage clear. He then quotes Dillmann
about the “wall” of water: “A very summary poetical and hy-
perbolical (xv. 8) description of the occurrence, which atmost
can be pictured as the drying up of a shallow ford, on both
sides of which the basin of the sea wasmuch deeper, and re-
mained filled with water.” There is no way to “water down” the
text to fit natural explanations; the report clearly shows a mi-
raculous work of Godmaking a path through the sea – a path
that had to be as wide as half a mile in order for the many
people and their animals to cross between about 2:00 a.m.
and 6:00 a.m. (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:389). The
text does not say that they actually only started across in the
morning watch, however.
159 exodus 14:3
horsemen. 14:4 In the morning watch the Lord
looked down on the Egyptian army through the
pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw the Egyptian
army into a panic. 14:5 He jammed the wheels
of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving,
and the Egyptians said, “Let’s flee from Israel, for
the Lord fights for them against Egypt!”
14:6 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your
hand toward the sea, so that the waters may
flow0 back on the Egyptians, on their chari-
ots, and on their horsemen!” 14:7 So Moses ex-
tended his hand toward the sea, and the sea re-
turned to its normal state when the sun began
to rise. Now the Egyptians were fleeing be-
 tn The night was divided into three watches of about four
hours each,making themorning watch about 2:00-6:00 a.m.
The text has this as “the watch of the morning,” the genitive
qualifying which of the night watches wasmeant.
 tn This particular verb ף ַק ָשׁ (shaqaf) is a bold anthropo-
morphism: Yahweh looked down. But its usage is always with
some demonstration of mercy or wrath. S. R. Driver (Exodus,
120) suggests that the lookmight be with fiery flashes to star-
tle the Egyptians, throwing them into a panic. Ps 77:17-19 pic-
tures torrents of rain with lightning and thunder.
 tn Heb “camp.” The same Hebrew word is used in Exod
14:20. Unlike the English word “camp,” it can be used of a
body of people at rest (encamped) or on themove.
 tn Heb “camp.”
 tn The verb ם ַמ ָה (hamam) means “throw into confusion.”
It is used in the Bible for the panic and disarray of an army
before a superior force (Josh 10:10; Judg 4:15).
 tn The word in the text is ר ַס ָ ּי ַו (vayyasar), which would be
translated “and he turned aside” with the sense perhaps of
removing the wheels. The reading in the LXX, Smr, and Syriac
suggests a root ר ַס ָא (’asar, “to bind”). The sense here might
be “clogged – presumably by their sinking in thewet sand” (S.
R. Driver, Exodus, 120).
 tn The clause is ת ֻד ֵב ְכ ִ ּב ּוה ֵג ֲה ַנ ְי ַו (vaynahagehu bikhvedut).
The verb means “to drive a chariot”; here in the Piel it means
“cause to drive.” The suffix is collective, and so the verbal
form can be translated “and caused them to drive.” The idea
of the next word is “heaviness” or “hardship”; it recalls the
previous uses of related words to describe Pharaoh’s heart.
Here it indicates that the driving of the crippled chariots was
with difficulty.
 tn The cohortative has the hortatory use here, “Let’s flee.”
Although the form is singular, the sense of it is plural and so
hortatory can be used. The form is singular to agree with the
singular subject, “Egypt,” which obviously means the Egyp-
tian army. The word for “flee” is used when someone runs
from fear of immanent danger and is a different word than
the one used in 14:5.
 tn The form is the Niphal participle; it is used as the predi-
cate here, that is, the verbal use: “the Lord is fighting.” This
corresponds to the announcement in v. 14.
0 tn The verb, “and they will return,” is here subordinated
to the imperative preceding it, showing the purpose of that
 tn The Hebrew term ֹונ ָתי ֵא ְל (lÿ’etano)means “to its place,”
or better, “to its perennial state.” The point is that the sea here
had a normal level, and now when the Egyptians were in the
sea on the dry ground the water would return to that level.
 tn Heb “at the turning of the morning”; NASB, NIV, TEV,
CEV “at daybreak.”
 tn The clause begins with the disjunctive vav (ו) on the
noun, signaling either a circumstantial clause or a new be-
ginning. It could be rendered, “Although the Egyptians…Yah-
weh…” or “as the Egyptians….”
fore it, but the Lord overthrew the Egyptians
in the middle of the sea. 14:8 The water returned
and covered the chariots and the horsemen and
all the army of Pharaoh that was coming after the
Israelites into the sea – not so much as one of
them survived! 14:9 But the Israelites walked
on dry ground in the middle of the sea, the wa-
ter forming a wall for them on their right and on
their left. 14:30 So the Lord saved Israel on that
day from the power of the Egyptians, and Israel
saw the Egyptians dead on the shore of the sea.
14:31When Israel saw0 the great power that the
Lord had exercised over the Egyptians, they
feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord
and in his servantMoses.
 tn The verb means “shake out” or “shaking off.” It has
the significance of “throw downward.” See Neh 5:13 or Job
 tn Heb “that was coming after them into the sea.” The
referent of “them” (the Israelites) has been specified in the
translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “not was left among them asmuch as one.”
 tn The Hebrew term ע ַשׁ ֹו ּי ַו (vayyosha’) is the key summa-
tion of the chapter, and this part of the book: “So Yahweh
saved Israel.” This is the culmination of all the powerful works
of God through these chapters.
 tn Heb “the hand,” with “hand” being a metonymy for
 tn The participle “dead” is singular, agreeing in form with
0 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces a
clause that is subordinate to the main points that the verse
 tn Heb “the great hand,” with “hand” being a metonymy
for work or power. The word play using “hand” contrasts the
Lord’s hand/power at work on behalf of the Israelites with the
hand/power of Egypt that would have killed them.
 tn Heb “did,made.”
 tn Heb “and the people feared.”
 tn The verb is the Hiphil preterite of ן ַמ ָא (’aman).
sn S. R. Driver says that the belief intended here is not sim-
ply a crediting of a testimony concerning a person or a thing,
but a laying firm hold morally on a person or a thing (Exodus,
122). Others take the Hiphil sense to be declarative, and that
would indicate a considering of the object of faith trustworthy
or dependable, and therefore to be acted on. In this passage
it does not mean that here they came to faith, but that they
became convinced that he would save them in the future.
 sn Here the title of “servant” is given to Moses. This is
the highest title a mortal can have in the OT – the “servant
of Yahweh.” It signifies more than a believer; it describes the
individual as acting on behalf of God. For example, when
Moses stretched out his hand, God used it as his own (Isa
63:12).Moses was God’s personal representative. The chap-
ter records both amessage of salvation and of judgment. Like
the earlier account of deliverance at the Passover, this chap-
ter can be a lesson on deliverance from present troubles – if
God could do this for Israel, there is no trouble too great for
him to overcome. The passage can also be understood as a
picture (at least) of the deliverance at the final judgment on
the world. But the Israelites used this account for a paradigm
of the power of God: namely, God is able to deliver his people
from danger because he is the sovereign Lord of creation. His
people must learn to trust him, even in desperate situations;
they must fear him and not the situation. God can bring any
threat to an end by bringing his power to bear in judgment on
the wicked.
exodus 14:4 160
The Song of Triumph
15:1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this
song to the Lord. They said,
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has tri-
umphed gloriously,
the horse and its rider he has thrown into
the sea.
15: The Lord is my strength and my
and he has become my salvation.
 sn This chapter is a song of praise sung by Moses and
the people right after the deliverance from the Sea. The song
itself is vv. 1b-18; it falls into three sections – praise to God
(1b-3), the cause for the praise (4-13), and the conclusion
(14-18). The point of the first section is that God’s saving acts
inspire praise from his people; the second is that God’s pow-
erful acts deliver his people from the forces of evil; and the
third section is that God’s demonstrations of his sovereignty
inspire confidence in him by his people. So the Victory Song
is very much like the other declarative praise psalms – the
resolve to praise, the power of God, the victory over the en-
emies, the incomparability of God in his redemption, and
the fear of the people. See also C. Cohen, “Studies in Early
Israelite Poetry I: An Unrecognized Case of Three Line Stair-
case Parallelism in the Song of the Sea,” JANESCU 7 (1975):
13-17; D. N. Freedman, “Strophe and Meter in Exodus 15,” A
Light unto My Path, 163-203; E. Levine, “Neofiti I: A Study of
Exodus 15,” Bib 54 (1973): 301-30; T. C. Butler, “‘The Song of
the Sea’: Exodus 15:1-18: A Study in the Exegesis of Hebrew
Poetry,” DissAb 32 (1971): 2782-A.
 tn The verb is רי ִשׁ ָי (yashir), a normal imperfect tense
form. But after the adverb “then” this form is to be treated as
a preterite (see GKC 314-15 §107.c).
 tn Heb “and they said, saying.” This has been simplified in
the translation for stylistic reasons.
 tn The form is the singular cohortative, expressing the
resolution of Moses to sing the song of praise (“I will” being
stronger than “I shall”).
 tn This causal clause gives the reason for and summary
of the praise. The Hebrew expression has ה ָא ָ ּג ה ֹא ָ ּג־י ִ ּכ (ki ga’oh
ga’ah). The basic idea of the verb is “rise up loftily” or “proud-
ly.” But derivatives of the root carry the nuance of majesty or
pride (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 132). So the idea of the perfect
tense with its infinitive absolute may mean “he is highly ex-
alted” or “he has done majestically” or “he is gloriously glori-
 sn The common understanding is that Egypt did not have
people riding horses at this time, and so the phrase the horse
and its rider is either viewed as an anachronism or is inter-
preted to mean charioteers. The word “to ride” can mean
on a horse or in a chariot. Some have suggested changing
“rider” to “chariot” (re-vocalization) to read “the horse and its
 tn Heb “Yah.” Moses’ poem here uses a short form of
the name Yahweh, traditionally rendered in English by “the
 tn The word ת ָר ְמ ִז ְו (vÿzimrat) is problematic. It probably
had a suffix yod (י) that was accidentally dropped because of
the yod (י) on the divine name following. Most scholars posit
another meaning for the word. A meaning of “power” fits the
line fairly well, forming a hendiadys with strength – “strength
and power” becoming “strong power.” Similar lines are in Isa
12:2 and Ps 118:14. Others suggest “protection” or “glory.”
However, there is nothing substantially wrong with “my song”
in the line – only that it would be a nicermatch if it had some-
thing to do with strength.
This is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
15:3 The Lord is a warrior,0
the Lord is his name.
15:4 The chariots of Pharaoh and his
army he has thrown into the sea,
and his chosen officers were drowned
in the Red Sea.
15:5 The depths have covered them,
they went down to the bottom like a
15:6Your right hand, O Lord, was majes-
tic in power,
your right hand, O Lord, shattered the
15:7 In the abundance of your majesty
you have overthrown
those who rise up against you.0
 tn The word ה ָו ָנ (navah) occurs only here. It may mean
“beautify, adorn” with praises (see BDB 627 s.v.). See alsoM.
Dahood, “Exodus 15:2: ‘anwehu and Ugaritic snwt,” Bib 59
(1979): 260-61; and M. Klein, “The Targumic Tosefta to Exo-
dus 15:2,” JJS 26 (1975): 61-67; and S. B. Parker, “Exodus
15:2 Again,” VT 21 (1971): 373-79.
0 tn Heb “man of war” (so KJV, ASV). “Warrior” is now the
preferred translation since “man of war” is more commonly
known today as a warship. The expression indicates that Yah-
weh is one who understands how to fight and defeat the en-
emy. The word “war” modifies “man” to reveal that Yahweh is
a warrior. Other passages use similar descriptions: Isa 42:13
has “man of wars”; Ps 24:8 has “mightyman of battle.” See F.
Cross, “The Divine Warrior in Israel’s Early Cult,” Biblical Mo-
tifs, 11-30.
 tn Heb “Yahweh is his name.” As throughout, the name
“Yahweh” is rendered as “the Lord” in the translation, as is
typically done in English translations.
 tn Gesenius notes that the sign of the accusative, often
omitted in poetry, is not found in this entire song (GKC 363
 tn The word is a substantive, “choice, selection”; it is
here used in the construct state to convey an attribute before
a partitive genitive – “the choice of his officers” means his
“choice officers” (see GKC 417 §128.r).
 tn The form is a Qal passive rather than a Pual, for there
is not Piel form ormeaning.
 tn The verb form is ּומֻי ְס ַכ ְי (yÿkhasyumu) is the Piel preter-
ite. Normally a vav (ו) consecutive is used with the preterite,
but in some ancient poems the form without the vav appears,
as is the case frequently in this poem. That such an archaic
form is used should come as no surprise, because the word
also uses the yod (י) of the root (GKC 214 §75.dd), and the
archaic suffix form (GKC 258 §91.l). These all indicate the an-
tiquity of the poem.
 tn The parasynonyms here are ת ֹמ ֹה ְ ּת (tÿhomot, “deep,
ocean depths, deep waters”) and ת ֹל ֹוצ ְמ (mÿtsolot, “the
depths”); S. R. Driver says properly the “gurgling places” (Exo-
dus, 134).
 tn The form י ִר ָ ּד ְא ֶנ (ne’dari) may be an archaic infinitive
with the old ending i, used in place of the verb and meaning
“awesome.” Gesenius says that the vowel ending may be an
old case ending, especially when a preposition is inserted be-
tween the word and its genitive (GKC 253 §90.l), but he sug-
gests a reconstruction of the form.
 sn This expression is cognate with words in v. 1. Here
that same greatness ormajesty is extolled as in abundance.
 tn Here, and throughout the song, these verbs are the
prefixed conjugation that may look like the imperfect but
are actually historic preterites. This verb is to “overthrow” or
“throw down” – like a wall, leaving it in shattered pieces.
0 tn The form ָךי ֶמ ָק (qamekha) is the active participle with
a pronominal suffix. The participle is accusative, the object of
the verb, but the suffix is the genitive of nearer definition (see
GKC 358 §116.i).
161 exodus 15:7
You sent forth your wrath;
it consumed them like stubble.
15:8 By the blast of your nostrils the wa-
ters were piled up,
the flowing water stood upright like a
and the deep waters were solidified in the
heart of the sea.
15:9 The enemy said, ‘I will chase, I will
I will divide the spoil;
my desire will be satisfied on them.
I will draw my sword, my hand will de-
stroy them.’
15:10 But0 you blew with your breath,
and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead in the mighty wa-
15:11 Who is like you, O Lord, among
the gods?
Who is like you? – majestic in holiness,
fearful in praises, working wonders?
15:1You stretched out your right hand,
 sn The verb is the Piel of ח ַל ָשׁ (shalakh), the same verb
used throughout for the demand on Pharaoh to release Isra-
el. Here, in some irony, God released his wrath on them.
 sn The word wrath is a metonymy of cause; the effect –
the judgment – is what ismeant.
 tn The verb is the prefixed conjugation, the preterite, with-
out the consecutive vav (ו).
 sn The phrase “the blast of your nostrils” is a bold anthro-
pomorphic expression for the wind that came in and dried up
the water.
 tn The word “heap” describes the walls of water. The wa-
ters, which are naturally fluid, stood up as though they were
a heap, a mound of earth. Likewise, the flowing waters deep
in the ocean solidified – as though they were turned to ice (U.
Cassuto, Exodus, 175).
 sn W. C. Kaiser observes the staccato phrases that al-
most imitate the heavy, breathless heaving of the Egyptians
as, with what reserve of strength they have left, they vow, “I
will…, I will…, I will…” (“Exodus,” EBC 2:395).
 tn The form is י ִשׁ ְפ ַנ (nafshi, “my soul”). But this word refers
to the whole person, the body and the soul, or better, a bun-
dle of appetites in a body. It therefore can figuratively refer
to the desires or appetites (Deut 12:15; 14:26; 23:24). Here,
with the verb “to be full” means “to be satisfied”; the whole
expression might indicate “I will be sated with them” or “I will
gorgemyself.” The greedy appetite was to destroy.
 tn The verb קי ִר (riq)means “to be empty” in the Qal, and in
the Hiphil “to empty.” Here the idea is to unsheathe a sword.
 tn The verb is שׁ ַר ָי (yarash), which in the Hiphil means “to
dispossess” or “root out.” Themeaning “destroy” is a general
0 tn “But” has been supplied here.
 tn Here “and” has been supplied.
 tn The verb may have the idea of sinking with a gurgling
sound, like water going into a whirlpool (R. A. Cole, Exodus
[TOTC], 124; S. R. Driver, Exodus, 136). See F. M. Cross and
D. N. Freedman, “The Song ofMiriam,” JNES 14 (1955): 243-
 tn The question is of course rhetorical; it is a way of af-
firming that no one is comparable to God. See C. J. Labuscha-
gne, The Incomparability of Yahweh in the Old Testament, 22,
66-67, and 94-97.
 sn Verses 11-17 will now focus on Yahweh as the incom-
parable one who was able to save Israel from their foes and
afterward lead them to the promised land.
 tn S. R. Driver suggests “praiseworthy acts” as the trans-
lation (Exodus, 137).
the earth swallowed them.
15:13 By your loyal love you will lead
the people whom you have redeemed;
you will guide them by your strength to
your holy dwelling place.
15:14 The nations will hear0 and tremble;
anguish will seize the inhabitants of
15:15 Then the chiefs of Edom will be
trembling will seize the leaders of
and the inhabitants of Canaan will shake.
15:16 Fear and dread will fall on them;
by the greatness of your arm they will
be as still as stone
until your people pass by, O Lord,
until the people whom you have bought0
pass by.
15:17You will bring them in and plant
them in the mountain of your inheri-
in the place you made for your resi-
dence, O Lord,
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands
have established.
15:18 The Lord will reign forever and
 tn The verb is the prefixed conjugation, the preterite with-
out the vav consecutive. The subject, the “earth,”must be in-
clusive of the sea, or it may indicate the grave or Sheol; the
sea drowned them. Some scholars wish to see this as a refer-
ence to Dathan and Abiram, and therefore evidence of a later
addition or compilation. It fits this passage well, however.
 tn The verbs in the next two verses are perfect tenses,
but can be interpreted as a prophetic perfect, looking to the
 tn The particle ּוז (zu) is a relative pronoun, subordinating
the next verb to the preceding.
 tn This verb seems to mean “to guide to a watering-
place” (See Ps 23:2).
0 tn This verb is a prophetic perfect, assuming that the text
means what it said and this song was sung at the Sea. So all
these countries were yet to hear of the victory.
 tn The word properly refers to “pangs” of childbirth.
When the nations hear, they will be terrified.
 tn The verb is again a prophetic perfect.
 tn This is a prophetic perfect.
 tn This verb is imperfect tense.
 tn The two words can form a nominal hendiadys, “a
dreadful fear,” though most English versions retain the two
separate terms.
 tn The form is an imperfect.
 tn The adjective is in construct form and governs the
noun “arm” (“arm” being the anthropomorphic expression for
what God did). See GKC 428 §132.c.
 sn For a study of the words for fear, see N. Waldman, “A
ComparativeNote on Exodus 15:14-16,” JQR 66 (1976): 189-
 tn Clauses beginning with ד ַע (’ad) express a limit that is
not absolute, but only relative, beyond which the action con-
tinues (GKC 446-47 §138.g).
0 tn The verb ה ָנ ָק (qanah) here is the verb “acquire, pur-
chase,” and probably not the homonym “to create, make”
(see Gen 4:1; Deut 32:6; and Prov 8:22).
 tn The verb is imperfect.
 sn The “mountain” and the “place” would be wherever
Yahweh met with his people. It here refers to Canaan, the
land promised to the patriarchs.
 tn The verb is perfect tense, referring to Yahweh’s previ-
ous choice of the holy place.
exodus 15:8 16
15:19 For the horses of Pharaoh came with
his chariots and his footmen into the
and the Lord brought back the waters of
the sea on them,
but the Israelites walked on dry land in
the middle of the sea.”
15:0 Miriam the prophetess, the sister of
Aaron, took a hand-drum in her hand, and all the
women went out after her with hand-drums and
with dances. 15:1 Miriam sang in response to
them, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed glo-
riously; the horse and its rider he has thrown into
the sea.”
The Bitter Water
15: ThenMoses led Israel to journey away
from the Red Sea. They went out to the Desert of
Shur, walked for three days into the desert, and
found no water. 15:3 Then they came to Marah,
but they were not able to drink the waters of
 sn See J. N. Easton, “Dancing in the Old Testament,” Exp-
Tim 86 (1975): 136-40.
 tn The verb ה ָנ ָע (’ana) normally means “to answer,” but it
can be used more technically to describe antiphonal singing
in Hebrew and in Ugaritic.
 sn This song of the sea is, then, a great song of praise for
Yahweh’s deliverance of Israel at the Sea, and his prepara-
tion to lead them to the promised land,much to the (anticipat-
ed) dread of the nations. The principle here, and elsewhere in
Scripture, is that the people of God naturally respond to God
in praise for his great acts of deliverance. Few will match the
powerful acts thatwere exhibited in Egypt, but these nonethe-
less set the tone. The song is certainly typological of the song
of the saints in heaven who praise God for delivering them
from the bondage of thisworld by judging theworld. The focus
of the praise, though, still is on the person (attributes) and
works of God.
 sn The first event of the Israelites’ desert experience is a
failure, for theymurmur against Yahweh and are given a stern
warning – and the provision of sweet water. The event teach-
es that God is able to turn bitter water into sweet water for his
people, and he promises to do such things if they obey. He
can provide for them in the desert – he did not bring them
into the desert to let them die. But there is a deeper level to
this story – the healing of the water is incidental to the heal-
ing of the people, their lack of trust. The passage is arranged
in a neat chiasm, starting with a journey (A), ending with the
culmination of the journey (A’); developing to bitter water (B),
resolving to sweet water (B’); complaints by the people (C),
leading to to the instructions for the people (C’); and the cen-
tral turning point is the wondermiracle (D).
 tn The verb form is unusual; the normal expression is with
the Qal, which expresses that they journeyed. But here the Hi-
phil is used to underscore thatMoses caused them to journey
– and he is following God. So the point is that God was lead-
ing Israel to the bitter water.
 sn The mention that they travelled for three days into the
desert is deliberately intended to recall Moses’ demand that
they go three days into the wilderness to worship. Here, three
days in, they find bitter water and complain – not worship.
 sn The Hebrew word “Marah” means “bitter.” This motif
will be repeated four times in this passage to mark the cen-
tral problem. Earlier in the book the word had been used for
the “bitter herbs” in the Passover, recalling the bitter labor in
bondage. So there may be a double reference here – to the
bitter waters and to Egypt itself – God can deliver from either.
 tn The infinitive construct here provides the direct object
for the verb “to be able,” answering the question of what they
Marah, because they were bitter.0 (That is why
its name wasMarah.)
15:4 So the people murmured against
Moses, saying, “What can we drink?”
15:5 He cried out to the Lord, and the Lord
showed him a tree.WhenMoses threw it into
the water, the water became safe to drink. There
the Lord1 made for them19 a binding ordinance,0
and there he tested1 them. 15:26 He said, “If you
were not able to do.
 tn The causal clause here provides the reason for their be-
ing unable to drink the water, as well as a clearmotivation for
the name.
0 snMany scholars have attempted to explain these things
with natural phenomena. Here Marah is identified with Ain
Hawarah. It is said that the waters of this well are notoriously
salty and brackish; Robinson said it was six to eight feet in
diameter and the water about two feet deep; the water is un-
pleasant, salty, and somewhat bitter. As a result the Arabs say
it is the worst tasting water in the area (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exo-
dus,” EBC 2:398). But that would not be a sufficient amount
of water for the number of Israelites in the first place, and in
the second, they could not drink it at all. But third, how did
Moses change it?
 tn The ן ֵ ּכ־ל ַע (’al-ken) formula in the Pentateuch serves
to explain to the reader the reason for the way things were. It
does not necessarily mean here that Israel named the place
– but they certainly could have.
 tn Heb “one called its name,” the expression can be
translated as a passive verb if the subject is not expressed.
 tn The verb ּונ ֹל ִ ּי ַו (vayyillonu) from ן ּול (lun) is amuch stron-
ger word than “to grumble” or “to complain.” It is used almost
exclusively in the wilderness wandering stories, to describe
the rebellion of the Israelites against God (see also Ps 59:14-
15). They were not merely complaining – they were question-
ing God’s abilities andmotives. The action is something like a
parliamentary vote of no confidence.
 tn The imperfect tense here should be given a potential
nuance: “What can we drink?” since the previous verse re-
ports that they were not able to drink the water.
sn It is likely that Moses used words very much like this
when he prayed. The difference seems to lie in the prepo-
sitions – he cried “to” Yahweh, but the people murmured
 tn The verb is ּוה ֵר ֹו ּי ַו (vayyorehu, “and he showed him”).
It is the Hiphil preterite from ה ָר ָי (yarah), which has a basic
meaning of “to point, show, direct.” It then came to mean “to
teach”; it is the verb behind the noun “Law” (ה ָר ֹו ּת, torah).
sn U. Cassuto notes that here is the clue to the direction of
the narrative: Israel needed God’s instruction, the Law, if they
were going to enjoy his provisions (Exodus, 184).
 tn Or “a [piece of] wood” (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, CEV);
NLT “a branch.”
sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 143) follows some local legends in
identifying this tree as one that is supposed to have – even
to this day – the properties necessary for making bitter water
sweet. B. Jacob (Exodus, 436) reports that no such tree has
ever been found, but then he adds that this does not mean
there was not such a bush in the earlier days. He believes
that here God used a naturalmeans (“showed, instructed”) to
sweeten thewater. He quotes Ben Sira as saying God had cre-
ated these things with healing properties in them.
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “there he”; the referent (the Lord) is supplied for
 tn Heb “for him” (referring to Israel as a whole).
0 tn This translation interprets the two nouns as a hendi-
adys: “a statute and an ordinance” becomes “a binding or-
 tn The verb ּוה ָ ּס ִנ (nissahu, “and he tested him [them]”) is
from the root ה ָס ָנ (nasah). The use of this word in the Bible
indicates that there is question, doubt, or uncertainty about
the object being tested.
163 exodus 15:6
will diligently obey the Lord your God, and do
what is right in his sight, and pay attention to
his commandments, and keep all his statutes, then
all the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians
I will not bring on you, for I, the Lord, am your
15:7 Then they came to Elim, where there
were twelvewells ofwater and seventy palm trees,
and they camped there by the water.
sn The whole episode was a test from God. He led them
there through Moses and let them go hungry and thirsty. He
wanted to see how great their faith was.
 tn The construction uses the infinitive absolute and the
imperfect tense of ע ַמ ָשׁ (shama’). The meaning of the verb is
idiomatic here because it is followed by “to the voice of Yah-
weh your God.” When this is present, the verb is translated
“obey.” The construction is in a causal clause. It reads, “If you
will diligently obey.” Gesenius points out that the infinitive
absolute in a conditional clause also emphasizes the impor-
tance of the condition on which the consequence depends
(GKC 342-43 §113.o).
 tn The word order is reversed in the text: “and the right in
his eyes you do,” or, “[if] you do what is right in his eyes.” The
conditional idea in the first clause is continued in this clause.
 tn Heb “give ear.” This verb and the next are both perfect
tenses with the vav (ו) consecutive; they continue the se-
quence of the original conditional clause.
 tn The substantive ־ל ָ ּכ (kol, “all of”) in a negative clause
can be translated “none of.”
 sn The reference is no doubt to the plagues that Yahweh
has just put on them. These will not come on God’s true peo-
ple. But the interesting thing about a conditional clause like
this is that the opposite is also true – “if you do not obey, then
I will bring these diseases.”
 tn The form is ָך ֶא ְפ ֹר (rofÿ’ekha), a participle with a pronom-
inal suffix. The word is the predicate after the pronoun “I”:
“I [am] your healer.” The suffix is an objective genitive – the
Lord heals them.
sn The name I Yahweh am your healer comes as a bit of
a surprise. One might expect, “I am Yahweh who heals your
water,” but it was the people he came to heal because their
faith was weak. God lets Israel know here that he can control
the elements of nature to bring about a spiritual response in
Israel (see Deut 8).
 sn Judging from the way the story is told they were not far
from the oasis. But God had other plans for them, to see if
they would trust him wholeheartedly and obey. They did not
do very well this first time, and they will have to learn how to
obey. The lesson is clear: God uses adversity to test his peo-
ple’s loyalty. The response to adversitymust be prayer to God,
for he can turn the bitter into the sweet, the bad into the good,
and the prospect of death into life.
The Provision of Manna
16:1When they journeyed from Elim, the en-
tire company0 of Israelites came to the Desert of
Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fif-
teenth day of the secondmonth after their exodus
from the land of Egypt. 16: The entire company
of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron
in the desert. 16:3 The Israelites said to them, “If
only we had died by the hand of the Lord in
the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of
meat, when we ate bread to the full, for you have
brought us out into this desert to kill this whole
assembly with hunger!”
 sn Exod 16 plays an important part in the development
of the book’s theme. It is part of the wider section that is the
prologue leading up to the covenant at Sinai, a part of which
was the obligation of obedience and loyalty (P. W. Ferris, Jr.,
“The Manna Narrative of Exodus 16:1-10,” JETS 18 [1975]:
191-99). The record of thewanderings in thewilderness is se-
lective and not exhaustive. It may have been arranged some-
what topically for instructional reasons. U. Cassuto describes
this section of the book as a didactic anthology arranged ac-
cording to association of both context and language (Exodus,
187). Its themes are: lack of vital necessities, murmuring,
proving, and providing. All the wilderness stories reiterate the
same motifs. So, later, when Israel arrived in Canaan, they
would look back and be reminded that it was Yahweh who
brought them all the way, in spite of their rebellions. Because
he is their Savior and their Provider, he will demand loyalty
from them. In the Manna Narrative there is murmuring over
the lack of bread (1-3), the disputation with Moses (4-8), the
appearance of the glory and the promise of bread (9-12), the
provision (13-22), the instructions for the Sabbath (23-30),
and thememorialmanna (31-36).
 tn The sentence begins with a preterite and vav (ו) con-
secutive, which can be subordinated to the next clause with
the preterite and vav consecutive. Here it has been treated as
a temporal clause.
0 tn The word is often rendered “congregation” (so KJV,
ASV, NASB, NRSV), but the modern perception of a congre-
gation is not exactly what is in mind in the desert. Another
possible rendering is “community” (NAB, NIV, NCV, TEV) or
“assembly.” The Hebrew word is used of both good and bad
groups (Judg 14:8; Ps 1:5; 106:17-18).
 tn The form in the text is ם ָתא ֵצ ְל (lÿtse’tam, “after their go-
ing out”). It clearly refers to their deliverance from Egypt, and
so itmay be vividly translated.
 tn Or “community” or “assembly.”
 tn The text reads: ּונ ֵת ּומ ן ֵ ּת ִי־י ִמ (mi-yittenmutenu, “who will
give our dying”)meaning “If only we had died.” ּונ ֵת ּומ is the Qal
infinitive construct with the suffix. This is one way that Hebrew
expresses the optative with an infinitive construct. See R. J.
Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 91-92, §547.
 tn The form is a Qal infinitive construct used in a tempo-
ral clause, and the verb “when we ate” has the same struc-
 sn That the complaint leading up to themanna is unjusti-
fied can be seen from the record itself. They left Egypt with
flocks and herds and very much cattle, and about 45 days
later they are complaining that they are without food. Moses
reminded them later that they lacked nothing (Deut 3:7; for
the whole sermon on this passage, see 8:1-20). Moreover,
the complaint is absurd because the food of work gangs was
far more meager than they recall. The complaint was really
against Moses. They crave the eating of meat and of bread
and so God willmeet that need; he will send bread from heav-
en and quail as well.
 tn תי ִמ ָה ְל (lÿhamit) is the Hiphil infinitive construct show-
ing purpose. The people do not trust the intentions or the plan
of their leaders and chargeMoses with bringing everyone out
to kill them.
exodus 15:7 164
16:4Then the Lord said toMoses, “I am going
to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people
will go out and gather the amount for each day,
so that I may test them. Will they will walk in
my law or not? 16:5 On the sixth day they will
prepare what they bring in, and it will be twice as
much as they gather every other day.”
16:6Moses andAaron said to all the Israelites,
“In the evening you will know that the Lord has
brought you out of the land of Egypt, 16:7 and in
the morning you will see the glory of the Lord,
because he has heard your murmurings against
the Lord.As for us,what arewe,0 that you should
murmur against us?”
 tn The particle י ִנ ְנ ִה (hinni) before the active participle indi-
cates the imminent future action: “I am about to rain.”
 tn This verb and the next are the Qal perfect tenses with
vav (ו) consecutives; they follow the sequence of the partici-
ple, and so are future in orientation. The force here is instruc-
tion – “they will go out” or “they are to go out.”
 tn The verb in the purpose/result clause is the Piel im-
perfect of ה ָס ָנ (nasah), ּונ ֶ ּס ַנ ֲא (’anassenu) – “in order that I may
prove them [him].” The giving of the manna will be a test of
their obedience to the detailed instructions of God as well as
being a test of their faith in him (if they believe him they will
not gather too much). In chap. 17 the people will test God,
showing that they do not trust him.
 sn The word “law” here properly means “direction” at this
point (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 146), but their obedience here
would indicate also whether or not they would be willing to
obey when the Law was given at Sinai.
 tn Heb “and it will be on the sixth day.”
 sn There is a question here concerning the legislation
– the people were not told why to gather twice as much on
the sixth day. In other words, this instruction seems to pre-
sume that they knew about the Sabbath law. That law will be
included in this chapter in a number of ways, suggesting to
some scholars that this chapter is out of chronological order,
placed here for a purpose. Some argue that the manna epi-
sode comes after the revelation at Sinai. But it is not neces-
sary to take such a view. God had established the Sabbath in
the creation, and if Moses has been expounding the Genesis
traditions in his teachings then they would have known about
 tn The text simply has “evening, and you will know.” Gese-
nius notes that the perfect tense with the vav consecutive oc-
curs as the apodosis to temporal clauses or their equivalents.
Here the first word implies the idea “[when it becomes] eve-
ning” or simply “[in the] evening” (GKC 337-38 §112.oo).
sn Moses is very careful to make sure that they know it is
Yahweh who has brought them out, and it will be Yahweh who
will feed them. They are going to be convinced of this now.
 tn Heb “morning, and you will see.”
 tn The form is a Qal infinitive construct with a preposition
and a suffix. It forms an adverbial clause, usually of time, but
here a causal clause.
0 tn The words “as for us” attempt to convey the force of
the Hebrew word order, which puts emphasis on the pronoun:
“and we – what?” The implied answer to the question is that
Moses and Aaron are nothing, merely the messengers. The
next verse repeats the question to further press the serious-
ness of what the Israelites are doing.
16:8 Moses said, “You will know this when
the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening
and bread in the morning to satisfy you, because
the Lord has heard your murmurings that you are
murmuring against him.As for us, what are we?
Your murmurings are not against us, but against
the Lord.”
16:9ThenMoses said toAaron, “Tell thewhole
community of the Israelites, ‘Come before the
Lord, because he has heard your murmurings.’”
16:10 As Aaron spoke to the whole com-
munity of the Israelites and they looked toward
the desert, there the glory of the Lord ap-
peared in the cloud, 16:11 and the Lord spoke
to Moses: 16:1 “I have heard the murmurings
of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘During the evening0
you will eat meat, and in the morning you will
 tn “You will know this” has been added to make the line
smooth. Because of the abruptness of the lines in the verse,
and the repetition with v. 7, B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 273)
thinks that v. 8 is merely a repetition by scribal error – even
though the versions render it as the MT has it. But B. Jacob
(Exodus, 447) suggests that the contrast with vv. 6 and 7
is important for another reason – there Moses and Aaron
speak, and it is smooth and effective, but here only Moses
speaks, and it is labored and clumsy. “We should realize that
Moses had properly claimed to be no public speaker.”
 tn Here again is an infinitive construct with the preposi-
tion forming a temporal clause.
 tn The words “as for us” attempt to convey the force of
the Hebrew word order, which puts emphasis on the pronoun:
“and we – what?” The implied answer to the question is that
Moses and Aaron are nothing,merely themessengers.
 tn The word order is “not against us [are] your murmur-
 tn Or “congregation” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV); the same
word occurs in v. 10.
 tn The verb means “approach, draw near.” It is used in
the Torah of drawing near for religious purposes. It is possi-
ble that some sacrifice was involved here, but no mention is
made of that.
 tn Heb “and it was as Aaron spoke.” The construction
uses the temporal indicator and then the Piel infinitive con-
struct followed by the subjective genitive “Aaron.”
 sn S. R. Driver says, “A brilliant glow of fire…symbolizing
Jehovah’s presence, gleamed through the cloud, resting…on
the Tent of Meeting. The cloud shrouds the full brilliancy of
the glory, which human eye could not behold” (Exodus, 147-
48; see also Ezek 1:28; 3:12, 23; 8:4; 9:3, et al.). A Hebrew
word often translated “behold” or “lo” introduces the surpris-
ing sight.
 tn The verb is the Niphal perfect of the verb “to see” – “it
was seen.” But the standard way of translating this form is
from the perspective of Yahweh as subject – “he appeared.”
0 tn Heb “during the evenings”; see Exod 12:6.
 sn One of the major interpretive difficulties is the com-
parison between Exod 16 and Num 11. In Numbers we find
that the giving of the manna was about 24 months after the
Exod 16 time (assuming there was a distinct time for this
chapter), that it was after the erection of the tabernacle, that
Taberah (the Burning) preceded it (not in Exod 16), that the
people were tired of the manna (not that there was no bread
to eat) and so God would send the quail, and that there was
a severe tragedy over it. In Exod 16 both the manna and the
quail are given on the same day, with no mention of quail on
the following days. Contemporary scholarship generally as-
signs the accounts to two different sources because com-
plete reconciliation seems impossible. Even if we argue that
165 exodus 16:1
be satisfied with bread, so that you may know
that I am the Lord your God.’”
16:13 In the evening the quail came up and
covered the camp, and in the morning a layer of
dew was all around the camp. 16:14 When the
layer of dew had evaporated, there on the sur-
face of the desert was a thin flaky substance,
Exodus has a thematic arrangement and “telescopes” some
things to make a point, there will still be difficulties in harmo-
nization. Two considerations must be kept in mind: 1) First,
they could be separate events entirely. If this is true, then they
should be treated separately as valid accounts of things that
appeared or occurred during the period of the wanderings.
Similar things need not be the same thing. 2) Secondly, strict
chronological order is not always maintained in the Bible nar-
ratives, especially if it is a didactic section. Perhaps Exod 16
describes the initiation of the giving of manna as God’s pro-
vision of bread, and therefore placed in the prologue of the
covenant, and Num 11 is an account of a mood which devel-
oped over a period of time in response to themanna. Num 11
would then be looking back from a different perspective.
 tn The verb means “to be sated, satisfied”; in this context
it indicates that they would have sufficient bread to eat – they
would be full.
 tn The form is a Qal perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it
is in sequence with the imperfect tenses before it, and so this
is equal to an imperfect nuance. But, from the meanings of
the words, it is clear that this will be the outcome of their eat-
ing the food, a divinely intended outcome.
 sn This verse supports the view taken in chap. 6 concern-
ing the verb “to know.” Surely the Israelites by now knew that
Yahweh was their God. Yes, they did. But they had not experi-
enced what that meant; they had not received the fulfillment
of the promises.
 sn These are migratory birds, said to come up in the
spring from Arabia flying north and west, and in the fall return-
ing. They fly with the wind, and so generally alight in the eve-
ning, covering the ground. If this is part of the explanation, the
divine provision would have had to alter their flight paths to
bring them to the Israelites, and bring them in vast numbers.
 tn Heb “and [the dew…] went up.”
 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordi-
nated as a temporal clause to the main clause; since that
clause calls special attention to what was there after the dew
 sn Translations usually refer to the manna as “bread.”
In fact it appears to be more like grain, because it could be
ground in hand-mills andmade into cakes. The word involved
says it is thin, flakelike (if an Arabic etymological connection
is correct). What is known about it from the Bible in Exodus
is that it was a very small flakelike substance, it would melt
when the sun got hot, if left over it bred worms and became
foul, it could be ground, baked, and boiled, it was abundant
enough for the Israelites to gather an omer a day per person,
and they gathered it day by day throughout the wilderness so-
journ. Num 11 says it was like coriander seed with the ap-
pearance of bdellium, it tasted like fresh oil, and it fellwith the
dew. Deut 8:3 says it was unknown to Israel or her ancestors;
Psalm 78:24 parallels it with grain. Some scholars compare
ancient references to honeydew that came from the heavens.
F. S. Bodenheimer (“The Manna of Sinai,” BA 10 [1947]: 2)
says that it was a sudden surprise for the nomadic Israelites
because it provided what they desired – sweetness. He says
that it was a product that came from two insects, making
the manna a honeydew excretion from plant lice and scale
insects. The excretion hardens and drops to the ground as a
sticky solid. He notes that some cicadas are called man in
Arabic. This view accounts for some of the things in these
passages: the right place, the right time, the right description,
and a similar taste. But there are major difficulties: Exodus
requires a far greater amount, it could breed worms, it could
thin like frost on the earth. 16:15When the Israel-
ites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”
because they did not know what it was.0 Moses
said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has
given you for food.
16:16 “This is what the Lord has com-
manded: ‘Each person is to gather from it
what he can eat, an omer per person accord-
ing to the number of your people; each one
will pick it up0 for whoever lives in his tent.’”
melt away, it could be baked into bread, it could decay and
stink. The suggestion is in no way convincing. Bodenheimer
argues that “worms” could mean “ants” that carried them
away, but that is contrived – the text could have said ants.
The fact that the Bible calls it “bread” creates no problem. ם ֶח ֶל
(lekhem) is used in a wide range of meanings from bread to
all kinds of food including goats (Judg 13:15-16) and honey
(1 Sam 14:24-28). Scripture does not say that manna was
the only thing that they ate for the duration. But they did eat it
throughout the forty years. It simplymust refer to some super-
natural provision for them in their diet. Modern suggestions
may invite comparison and analysis, but they do not satisfy
or explain the text.
 tn The preterite with vav consecutive is here subordinated
to the next verb as a temporal clause. The main point of the
verse is what they said.
 tn Heb “aman to his brother.”
0 tn The text has: א ּוה־ה ַמ ּוע ְד ָי ֹאל י ִ ּכ א ּוה ן ָמ (man hu’ ki lo’
yadÿ’u mah hu’). From this statement the name “manna”
was given to the substance. ן ָמ for “what” is not found in He-
brew, but appears in Syriac as a contraction ofma den, “what
then?” In Aramaic and Arabic man is “what?” The word is
used here apparently for the sake of etymology. B. S. Childs
(Exodus [OTL], 274) follows the approach that any connec-
tions to words that actually meant “what?” are unnecessary,
for it is a play on the name (whatever it may have been) and
therefore related only by sound to the term being explained.
This, however, presumes that a substance was known prior
to this account – a point that Deuteronomy does not seem
to allow. S. R. Driver says that it is not known how early the
contraction came into use, but that this verse seems to re-
flect it (Exodus, 149). Probably onemust simply accept that in
the early Israelite periodmanmeant “what?” There seems to
be sufficient evidence to support this. See EA 286,5; UT 435;
DNWSI 1:157.
 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 454-55) suggests that Moses was
saying to them, “It is not manna. It is the food Yahweh has
given you.” He comes to this conclusion based on the strange
popular etymology from the interrogative word, noting that
people do not call things “what?”
 sn For other views see G. Vermès, “‘He Is the Bread’ Tar-
gumNeofiti Ex. 16:15,” SJLA8 (1975): 139-46; andG. J. Cowl-
ing, “Targum Neofiti Ex. 16:15,” AJBA (1974-75): 93-105.
 tn Heb “the thing that.”
 tn The perfect tense could be taken as a definite past
with Moses now reporting it. In this case a very recent past.
But in declaring the word from Yahweh it could be instanta-
neous, and receive a present tense translation – “here and
now he commands you.”
 tn The form is the plural imperative: “Gather [you] each
man according to his eating.”
 sn The omer is an amountmentioned only in this chapter,
and its size is unknown, except by comparison with the ephah
(v. 36). A number of recent English versions approximate the
omer as “two quarts” (cf. NCV, CEV, NLT); TEV “two litres.”
 tn Heb “for a head.”
 tn The word “number” is an accusative that defines
more precisely how much was to be gathered (see GKC 374
 tn Traditionally “souls.”
0 tn Heb “will take.”
 tn “lives” has been supplied.
exodus 16:13 166
16:17 The Israelites did so, and they gathered
– some more, some less. 16:18 When they mea-
sured with an omer, the one who gathered much
had nothing left over, and the one who gathered
little lacked nothing; each one had gathered what
he could eat.
16:19Moses said to them, “No one is to keep
any of it until morning.” 16:0 But they did not
listen to Moses; some kept part of it until morn-
ing, and it was full of worms and began to stink,
and Moses was angry with them. 16:1 So they
gathered it each morning, each person according
to what he could eat, and when the sun got hot,
it would melt. 16: And on the sixth day they
gathered twice as much food, two omers per
person;0 and all the leaders of the community
came and told Moses. 16:3 He said to them,
“This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a
time of cessation from work, a holy Sabbath to
the Lord. Whatever you want to bake, bake to-
day;whatever youwant to boil, boil today;what-
ever is left put aside for yourselves to be kept until
16:4 So they put it aside until the morn-
ing, just as Moses had commanded, and it
did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.
 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is subordinat-
ed here as a temporal clause.
 tn The address now is for “man” (שׁ י ִא, ’ish), “each one”;
here the instruction seems to be focused on the individual
heads of the households.
 tn Or “some of it,” “from it.”
 tn Heb “men”; this usage is designed to mean “some”
(see GKC 447 §138.h, n. 1).
 tn The verb ם ֻר ָ ּי ַו (vayyarum) is equivalent to a passive – “it
was changed” – to which “worms” is added as an accusative
of result (GKC 388-89 §121.d, n. 2).
 tn Heb “morning by morning.” This is an example of the
repetition of words to express the distributive sense; here the
meaning is “everymorning” (see GKC 388 §121.c).
 tn The perfect tenses here with vav (ו) consecutives have
the frequentative sense; they function in a protasis-apodosis
relationship (GKC 494 §159.g).
 tn Heb “and it happened/was.”
 tn This construction is an exception to the normal rule for
the numbers 2 through 10 taking the object numbered in the
plural. Here it is “two of the omer” or “the double of the omer”
(see GKC 433 §134.e).
0 tn Heb “for one.”
 tn The word suggests “the ones lifted up” above others,
and therefore the rulers or the chiefs of the people.
 tn Or “congregation” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).
 sn The meaning here is probably that these leaders, the
natural heads of the families in the clans, saw that people
were gathering twice as much and they reported this to Mo-
ses, perhaps afraid it would stink again (U. Cassuto, Exodus,
 tn The noun ן ֹות ָ ּב ַשׁ (shabbaton) has the abstract ending
on it: “resting, ceasing.” The root word means “cease” from
something, more than “to rest.” The Law would make it clear
that they were to cease from their normal occupations and do
no common work.
 tn The technical expression is now used: שׁ ֶד ֹק־ת ַ ּב ַשׁ (shab-
bat-qodesh, “a holy Sabbath”) meaning a “cessation of/for
holiness” for Yahweh. The rest was to be characterized by
 tn The two verbs in these objective noun clauses are de-
siderative imperfects – “bake whatever you want to bake.”
 tn The word “today” is implied from the context.
16:5Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sab-
bath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the
area. 16:6 Six days you will gather it, but on the
seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
16:7 On the seventh day some of the people
went out to gather it, but they found nothing.
16:8 So the Lord said to Moses, “How long do
you refuse to obey my commandments and my
instructions? 16:9 See, because the Lord has giv-
en you the Sabbath, that is why0 he is giving you
food for two days on the sixth day. Each of you
stay where you are; let no one go out of his
place on the seventh day.” 16:30 So the people rest-
ed on the seventh day.
16:31 The house of Israel called its name
“manna.” It was like coriander seed and was
white, and it tasted like wafers with honey.
16:3Moses said, “This is what the Lord has
commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it to be kept for
generations to come, so that they may see the
food I fed you in the desertwhen I brought you out
from the land of Egypt.’” 16:33Moses said toAar-
on, “Take a jar and put in it an omer full ofmanna,
and place it before the Lord to be kept for genera-
tions to come.” 16:34 Just as the Lord commanded
Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony0
for safekeeping.
16:35Now the Israelites atemanna forty years,
until they came to a land that was inhabited; they
atemanna until they came to the border of the land
of Canaan. 16:36 (Now an omer is one tenth of an
 tn Heb “in the field” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV, NRSV);
NAB, NIV, NLT “on the ground.”
 tn The verb is plural, and so it is addressed to the nation
and not to Moses. The perfect tense in this sentence is the
characteristic perfect, denoting action characteristic, or typi-
cal, of the past and the present.
0 sn Noting the rabbinic teaching that the giving of the
Sabbath was a sign of God’s love – it was accomplished
through the double portion on the sixth day – B. Jacob says,
“God made no request unless He provided the means for its
execution” (Exodus, 461).
 tn Heb “remain, aman where he is.”
 tn Or “Let not anyone go” (see GKC 445 §138.d).
 sn The name “house of Israel” is unusual in this context.
 tn Hebrew ן ָמ (man).
 tn Heb “like seed of coriander, white, its taste was.”
 tn Heb “This is the thing that.”
 tn Heb “for keeping.”
 tn Heb “according to your generations” (see Exod
 tn In this construction after the particle expressing pur-
pose or result, the imperfect tense has the nuance of final
imperfect, equal to a subjunctive in the classical languages.
0 sn The “Testimony” is a reference to the Ark of the Cov-
enant; so the pot of manna would be placed before Yahweh
in the tabernacle. W. C. Kaiser says that this later instruction
came from a time after the tabernacle had been built (see
Exod 25:10-22;W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:405). This is
not a problem since the final part of this chapter had to have
been included at the end of the forty years in the desert.
 tn “for keeping.”
 tn The words “omer” and “ephah” are transliterated He-
brew words. The omer ismentioned only in this passage. (It is
different from a “homer” [cf. Ezek 45:11-14].) An ephah was
a dry measure whose capacity is uncertain: “Quotations giv-
en for the ephah vary from ca. 45 to 20 liters” (C. Houtman,
167 exodus 16:36
Water at Massa and Meribah
17:1 The whole community of the Israel-
ites traveled on their journey from the Desert of
Sin according to the Lord’s instruction, and they
pitched camp in Rephidim. Now there was no
Exodus, 2:340-41).
sn The point of this chapter, with all its instructions and re-
ports included, is God’s miraculous provision of food for his
people. This is a display of sovereign power that differs from
the display of military power. Once again the story calls for
faith, but here it is faith in Yahweh to provide for his people.
The provision is also a test to see if they will obey the instruc-
tions of God. Deut 8 explains this. The point, then, is that God
provides for the needs of his people that they may demon-
strate their dependence on him by obeying him. The exposi-
tion of this passage must also correlate to John 6. God’s pro-
viding manna from heaven to meet the needs of his people
takes on new significance in the application that Jesusmakes
of the subject to himself. There the requirement is the same
– will they believe and obey? But at the end of the event John
explains that theymurmured about Jesus.
 sn This is the famous story telling how the people rebelled
against Yahweh when they thirsted, saying that Moses had
brought them out into the wilderness to kill them by thirst,
and how Moses with the staff brought water from the rock.
As a result of this the name was called Massa and Meribah
because of the testing and the striving. It was a challenge to
Moses’ leadership as well as a test of Yahweh’s presence.
The narrative in its present form serves an important point
in the argument of the book. The story turns on the gracious
provision of God who can give his people water when there is
none available. The narrative is structured to show how the
people strove. Thus, the story intertwines God’s free flowing
grace with the sad memory of Israel’s sins. The passage can
be divided into three parts: the situation and the complaint
(1-3), the cry and the miracle (4-6), and the commemoration
by naming (7).
 tn Or “congregation” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).
 tn The text says that they journeyed “according to their
journeyings.” Since the verb form (and therefore the derived
noun) essentially means to pull up the tent pegs and move
along, this verse would be saying that they traveled by stages,
or, from place to place.
 sn The location is a bit of a problem. Exod 19:1-2 sug-
gests that it is near Sinai, whereas it is normally located near
Kadesh in the north. Without any details provided, M. Noth
concludes that two versions came together (Exodus [OTL],
138). S. R. Driver says that the writer wrote not knowing that
theywere24miles apart (Exodus,157).Critics have long been
bothered by this passage because of the two names given at
the same place. If two sources had been brought together, it
is not possible now to identify them. But Noth insisted that if
there were two names there were two different locations. The
names Massah and Meribah occur alone in Scripture (Deut
9:22, and Num 20:1 for examples), but together in Ps 95 and
in Deut 33:8. But none of these passages is a clarification
of the difficulty. Most critics would argue that Massah was a
secondary element that was introduced into this account, be-
cause Exod 17 focuses on Meribah. From that starting point
they can diverge greatly on the interpretation, usually hav-
ing something to do with a water test. But although Num 20
is parallel in several ways, there are major differences: 1) it
takes place 40 years later than this, 2) the name Kadesh is
joined to the name Meribah there, and 3) Moses is punished
there. One must conclude that if an event could occur twice
in similar ways (complaint about water would be a good can-
didate for such), then there is no reason a similar name could
not be given.
 tn The disjunctive vav introduces a parenthetical clause
that is essential for this passage – there was no water.
water for the people to drink. 17: So the people
contended with Moses, and they said, “Give us
water to drink!” Moses said to them, “Why do
you contend with me? Why do you test0 the
Lord?” 17:3 But the people were very thirsty
there for water, and theymurmured againstMoses
and said, “Why in the world did you bring us up
out of Egypt – to kill us and our children and our
cattle with thirst?”
17:4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord,
“What will I do with this people? – a little
more and they will stone me!” 17:5 The Lord
said to Moses, “Go over before the people;
take with you some of the elders of Israel and
 tn Here the construction uses a genitive after the infinitive
construct for the subject: “there was no water for the drinking
of the people” (GKC 353-54 §115.c).
 tn The verb ב ֶר ָ ּי ַו (vayyarev) is from the root בי ִר (riv); it forms
the basis of the name “Meribah.” The word means “strive,
quarrel, be in contention” and even “litigation.” A translation
“quarrel” does not appear to capture the magnitude of what
is being done here. The people have a legal dispute – they are
contending withMoses as if bringing a lawsuit.
 tn The imperfect tense with the vav (ו) follows the imper-
ative, and so it carries the nuance of the logical sequence,
showing purpose or result. This may be expressed in English
as “give us water so that wemay drink,” butmore simply with
the English infinitive, “give us water to drink.”
sn Onewonders if the people thought thatMoses and Aaron
had water and were withholding it from the people, or wheth-
er Moses was able to get it on demand. The people should
have come to Moses to ask him to pray to God for water, but
their action ledMoses to say that they had challenged God (B.
Jacob, Exodus, 476).
 tn In this case and in the next clause the imperfect tenses
are to be taken as progressive imperfects – the action is in
0 tn The verb ה ָס ָנ (nasah)means “to test, tempt, try, prove.”
It can be used of people simply trying to do something that
they are not sure of (such as David trying on Saul’s armor),
or of God testing people to see if they will obey (as in test-
ing Abraham, Gen 22:1), or of people challenging others (as
in the Queen of Sheba coming to test Solomon), and of the
people in the desert in rebellion putting God to the test. By
doubting that God was truly in their midst, and demanding
that he demonstrate his presence, they tested him to see if
he would act. There are times when “proving” God is correct
and required, but that is done by faith (as with Gideon); when
it is done out of unbelief, then it is an act of disloyalty.
 tn The verbs and the pronouns in this verse are in the
singular because “the people” is singular in form.
 tn The demonstrative pronoun is used as the enclitic
form for special emphasis in the question; it literally says,
“why is this you have brought us up?” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew
Syntax, 24, §118).
 sn Their words deny God the credit for bringing them out
of Egypt, impugn the integrity of Moses and God by accusing
them of bringing the people out here to die, and show a lack
of faith in God’s ability to provide for them.
 tn The preposition lamed (ל) is here specification, mean-
ing “with respect to” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 49,
 tn Or “they are almost ready to stoneme.”
 tn The perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive almost
develops an independent force; this is true in sentences
where it follows an expression of time, as here (see GKC 334
 tn “Pass over before” indicates that Moses is the leader
who goes first, and the people follow him. In other words, י ֵנ ְפ ִל
(lifney) indicates time and not place here (B. Jacob, Exodus,
exodus 17:1 168
take in your hand your staff with which you struck
the Nile and go. 17:6 I will be standing before you
there on the rock in Horeb, and you will strike
the rock, and water will come out of it so that the
people may drink.” And Moses did so in plain
view of the elders of Israel.
17:7 He called the name of the place Massah
and Meribah, because of the contending of the Is-
raelites and because of their testing the Lord, say-
ing, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
 tn The construction uses ד ֵמ ֹע י ִנ ְנ ִה (hinni ’omed) to express
the futur instans or imminent future of the verb: “I am going
to be standing.”
sn The reader has many questions when studying this pas-
sage – why water from a rock, why Horeb, why strike the rock
when later only speak to it, why recall the Nile miracles, etc.
B. Jacob (Exodus, 479-80) says that all these are answered
when it is recalled that they were putting God to the test. So
water from the rock, the most impossible thing, cleared up
the question of his power. Doing it at Horeb was significant
because there Moses was called and told he would bring
them to this place. Since they had doubted God was in their
midst, he would not do this miracle in the camp, but would
haveMoses lead the elders out to Horeb. If people doubt God
is in their midst, then he will choose not to be in their midst.
And striking the rock recalled striking theNile; there it brought
death to Egypt, but here it brought life to Israel. There could
be little further doubting that God was with them and able to
provide for them.
 tn Or “by” (NIV, NLT).
 tn The form is a Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive;
it follows the future nuance of the participle and so is equiva-
lent to an imperfect tense nuance of instruction.
 tn These two verbs are also perfect tenses with vav (ו) con-
secutive: “and [water] will go out…and [the people] will drink.”
But the second verb is clearly the intent or the result of the
water gushing from the rock, and so itmay be subordinated.
sn The presence of Yahweh at this rock enabled Paul to
develop a midrashic lesson, an analogical application: Christ
was present with Israel to provide water for them in the wil-
derness. So this was a Christophany. But Paul takes it a step
further to equate the rock with Christ, for just as it was struck
to produce water, so Christ would be struck to produce rivers
of livingwater. The provision of bread to eat andwater to drink
provided for Paul a ready analogy to the provisions of Christ in
the gospel (1 Cor 10:4).
 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”
 sn The nameMassah (ה ָ ּס ַמ,massah)means “Proving”; it is
derived from the verb “test, prove, try.” And the name Merib-
ah (ה ָבי ִר ְמ,mÿrivah)means “Strife”; it is related to the verb “to
strive, quarrel, contend.” The choice of these names for the
place would serve to remind Israel for all time of this failure
with God. God wanted this and all subsequent generations
to know how unbelief challenges God. And yet, he gave them
water. So in spite of their failure, he remained faithful to his
promises. The incident became proverbial, for it is the warn-
ing in Ps 95:7-8, which is quoted in Heb 3:15: “Oh, that today
you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts as
in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness. There
your fathers tested me and tried me, and they saw my works
for forty years.” The lesson is clear enough: to persist in this
kind of unbelief could only result in the loss of divine blessing.
Or, to put it another way, if they refused to believe in the power
of God, they would wander powerless in the wilderness. They
had every reason to believe, but they did not. (Note that this
does not mean they are unbelievers, only that they would not
take God at his word.)
Victory over the Amalekites
17:8 Amalek came and attacked Israel in
Rephidim. 17:9 SoMoses said to Joshua, “Choose
some of our0 men and go out, fight againstAma-
lek. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with
the staff of God in my hand.”
17:10 So Joshua fought againstAmalek just as
Moses had instructed him;andMoses andAaron
and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 17:11When-
ever Moses would raise his hands, then Israel
prevailed, but whenever he would rest his hands,
thenAmalek prevailed. 17:1When the hands of
Moses became heavy, they took a stone and put it
on one side and one on the other, and so his hands
were steady until the sun went down. 17:13 So
 sn This short passage gives the first account of Israel’s
holy wars. The war effort and Moses’ holding up his hands
go side by side until the victory is won and commemorated.
Many have used this as an example of intercessory prayer
– but the passage makes no such mention. In Exodus so far
the staff of God is the token of the power of God; whenMoses
used it, God demonstrated his power. To use the staff of God
was to say that God did it; to fight without the staff was to face
defeat. Using the staff of God was a way of submitting to and
depending on the power of God in all areas of life. The first
part of the story reports the attack and the preparation for
the battle (8,9). The second part describes the battle and its
outcome (10-13). The final section is the preservation of this
event in thememory of Israel (14-16).
 tn Heb “and Amalek came”; NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV “the Ama-
 tn Or “fought with.”
0 tn This could be rendered literally “choose men for us.”
But the lamed (ל) preposition probably indicates possession,
“our men,” and the fact that Joshua was to choose from Is-
rael, as well as the fact that there is no article on “men,” indi-
cates he was to select some to fight.
 tn The line in Hebrew reads literally: And Joshua did as
Moses had said to him, to fight with Amalek. The infinitive
construct is epexegetical, explaining what Joshua did that
was in compliance withMoses’ words.
 tn The two verbs in the temporal clauses are by ר ֶשׁ ֲא ַ ּכ ה ָי ָה ְו
(vÿhaya ka’asher, “as long as” or, “and it was that whenever”).
This indicates that the two imperfect tenses should be given a
frequentative translation, probably a customary imperfect.
 tn Or “lower.”
 tn Literally “now the hands ofMoses,” the disjunctive vav
(ו) introduces a circumstantial clause here – of time.
 tn The term used here is the adjective םי ִד ֵב ְ ּכ (kÿvedim).
It means “heavy,” but in this context the idea is more that of
being tired. This is the important word that was used in the
plague stories: when the heart of Pharaoh was hard, then the
Israelites did not gain their freedom or victory. Likewise here,
when the staff was lowered because Moses’ hands were
“heavy,” Israel started to lose.
 tn Heb “from this, one, and from this, one.”
 tn The word “steady” is ה ָנ ּומ ֱא (’emuna) from the root ן ַמ ָא
(’aman). The word usually means “faithfulness.” Here is a
good illustration of the basic idea of the word – firm, steady,
reliable, dependable. There may be a double entendre here;
on the one hand it simply says that his hands were stayed so
that Israel might win, but on the other hand it is portraying
Moses as steady, firm, reliable, faithful. The point is that what-
ever God commissioned as the means or agency of power
– toMoses a staff, to the Christians the Spirit – the people of
God had to know that the victory came from God alone.
169 exodus 17:13
Joshua destroyed Amalek and his army with the
17:14 The Lord said toMoses, “Write this as a
memorial in the book, and rehearse it in Joshua’s
hearing; for I will surely wipe out the remem-
brance of Amalek from under heaven. 17:15Mo-
ses built an altar, and he called it “The Lord is my
Banner,” 17:16 for he said, “For a hand was lifted
up to the throne of the Lord0 – that the Lord will
have war withAmalek from generation to genera-
 tn The verbmeans “disabled, weakened, prostrated.” It is
used a couple of times in the Bible to describe how man dies
and is powerless (see Job 14:10; Isa 14:12).
 tn Or “people.”
 tn Heb “mouth of the sword.” It means as the sword de-
vours – without quarter (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 159).
 tn The presence of the article does notmean that he was
to write this in a book that was existing now, but in one dedi-
cated to this purpose (book, meaning scroll). See GKC 408
 tn The Hebrew word is “place,” meaning that the events
were to be impressed on Joshua.
 tn Heb “in the ears of Joshua.” The account should be
read to Joshua.
 tn The construction uses the infinitive absolute and the
imperfect tense to stress the resolution of Yahweh to destroy
Amalek. The verb ה ָח ָמ (makhah) is often translated “blot out”
– but that is not a very satisfactory image, since it would not
remove completely what is the object. “Efface, erase, scrape
off” (as in a palimpsest, amanuscript that is scraped clean so
it can be reused) is amore accurate image.
 sn This would seem to be defeated by the preceding state-
ment that the events would be written in a book for a memo-
rial. If this war is recorded, then the Amalekites would be re-
membered. But here God was going to wipe out the memory
of them. But the idea of removing the memory of a people is
an idiom for destroying them – they will have no posterity and
no lasting heritage.
 sn Heb “Yahweh-nissi” (so NAB), which means “Yahweh
is my banner.” Note that when Israel murmured and failed
God, the name commemorated the incident or the outcome
of their failure. When they were blessed with success, the
naming praised God. Here the holding up of the staff of God
was preserved in the name for the altar – God gave them the
0 tn The line here is very difficult. The Hebrew text has ד ָי־י ִ ּכ
ּה ָי ס ֵ ּכ־ל ַע (ki yad ’al kes yah, “for a hand on the throne of Yah”).
If the word is “throne” (and it is not usually spelled like this),
then it would mean Moses’ hand was extended to the throne
of God, showing either intercession or source of power. It
could not be turned to mean that the hand of Yah was taking
an oath to destroy the Amalekites. The LXX took the same let-
ters, but apparently saw the last four (היסכ) as a verbal form;
it reads “with a secret hand.” Most scholars have simply as-
sumed that the text is wrong, and ס ֵ ּכ should be emended to
ס ֵנ (nes) to fit the name, for this is the pattern of naming in the
OT with popular etymologies – some motif of the name must
be found in the sentiment. This would then read, “My hand on
the banner of Yah.” It would be an expression signifying that
the banner, the staff of God, should ever be ready at hand
when the Israelites fight the Amalekites again.
 sn The message of this short narrative, then, concerns
the power of God to protect his people. The account includes
the difficulty, the victory, and the commemoration. The vic-
tory must be retained in memory by the commemoration. So
the expositional idea could focus on that: The people of God
must recognize (both for engaging in warfare and for praise
afterward) that victory comes only with the power of God. In
the NT the issue is even more urgent, because the warfare
is spiritual – believers do not wrestle against flesh and blood.
So only God’s power will bring victory.
The Advice of Jethro
18:1 Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ fa-
ther-in-law, heard about all that God had done for
Moses and for his people Israel, that the Lord
had brought Israel out of Egypt.
18: Jethro,Moses’ father-in-law, tookMoses’
wife Zipporah after he had sent her back, 18:3 and
her two sons, one of whom was named Gershom
(forMoses had said, “I have been a foreigner in a
foreign land”), 18:4 and the other Eliezer (for Mo-
ses had said, “The God of my father has been
my help and delivered me from the sword of
18:5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together
with Moses’ sons and his wife, came to Mo-
ses in the desert where he was camping by0 the
 sn This chapter forms the transition to the Law. There
has been the deliverance, the testing passages, the provision
in the wilderness, and the warfare. Any God who can do all
this for his people deserves their allegiance. In chap. 18 the
Lawgiver is giving advice, using laws and rulings, but then he
is given advice to organize the elders to assist. Thus, when
the Law is fully revealed, a system will be in place to admin-
ister it. The point of the passage is that a great leader hum-
bly accepts advice from other godly believers to delegate re-
sponsibility. He does not try to do it all himself; God does not
want one individual to do it all. The chapter has three parts:
vv. 1-12 tell how Jethro heard and came and worshiped and
blessed; vv. 13-23 have the advice of Jethro, and then vv. 24-
27 tell how Moses implemented the plan and Jethro went
home. See further E. J. Runions, “Exodus Motifs in 1 Samuel
7 and 8,” EvQ 52 (1980): 130-31; and also see for another
idea T. C. Butler, “An Anti-Moses Tradition,” JSOT 12 (1979):
 tn This clause beginning with י ִ ּכ (ki) answers the ques-
tion of what Jethro had heard; it provides a second, explana-
tory noun clause that is the object of the verb – “he heard (1)
all that God had done… (2) that he had brought….” See R. J.
Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 81, §490.
 sn This is an important report that Jethro has heard,
for the claim of God that he brought Israel out of bondage
in Egypt will be the foundation of the covenant stipulations
(Exod 20).
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in
the translation for clarity (also in the following verse).
 tn The referent (Moses) and the verb have been speci-
fied in the translation for clarity.
 tn Now is given the etymological explanation of the name
of Moses’ other son, Eliezer (ר ֶז ֶעי ִל ֱא, ’eli’ezer), which means
“my God is a help.” The sentiment that explains this name
is י ִר ְז ֶע ְ ּב י ִב ָא י ֵה ֹל ֱא (’elohe ’avi bÿ’ezri, “the God of my father is
my help”). The preposition in the sentiment is the bet (ב) es-
sentiae (giving the essence – see GKC 379 §119.i). Not men-
tioned earlier, the name has become even more appropriate
now that God has delivered Moses from Pharaoh again. The
word for “help” is a commonword in the Bible, first introduced
as a description of the woman in the Garden. It means to do
for someone what he or she cannot do for himself or herself.
Samuel raised the “stone of help” (Ebenezer) when Yahweh
helped Israel win the battle (1 Sam 7:12).
 sn The verb “delivered” is an importantmotif in this chap-
ter (see its use in vv. 8, 9, and 10 with reference to Pharaoh).
 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
0 tn This is an adverbial accusative that defines the place
(see GKC 373-74 §118.g).
exodus 17:14 170
mountain ofGod. 18:6He said toMoses, “I, your
father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you, alongwith
your wife and her two sons with her.” 18:7 Mo-
ses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed
down and kissed him; they each asked about the
other’s welfare, and then they went into the tent.
18:8Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord
had done to Pharaoh and to Egypt for Israel’s sake,
and all the hardship that had come on them along
the way, and how the Lord had delivered them.
18:9 Jethro rejoiced because of all the good
that the Lord had done for Israel, whom he had
delivered from the hand of Egypt. 18:10 Jethro
said, “Blessed be the Lord who has delivered
you from the hand of Egypt, and from the hand
of Pharaoh, who has delivered the people from
the Egyptians’ control! 18:11 Now I know that
the Lord is greater than all the gods, for in the
thing in which they dealt proudly against them
he has destroyed them.”0 18:1 Then Jethro,
 sn The mountain of God is Horeb, and so the desert here
must be the Sinai desert by it. But chap. 19 suggests that they
left Rephidim to go the 24 miles to Sinai. It may be that this
chapter fits in chronologically after themove to Sinai, but was
placed here thematically. W. C. Kaiser defends the present
location of the story by responding to other reasons for the
change given by Lightfoot, but does not deal with the travel
locations (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:411).
 sn This versemay seem out of place, since the report has
already been given that they came to the desert. It begins to
provide details of the event that the previous verse summariz-
es. The announcement in verse 6may have come in advance
by means of a messenger or at the time of arrival, either of
which would fit with the attention to formal greetings in verse
7. This would suit ameeting between two importantmen; the
status ofMoses has changed. The LXX solves the problem by
taking the pronoun “I” as the particle “behold” and reads it
this way: “one said to Moses, ‘Behold, your father-in-law has
 sn This is more than polite oriental custom. Jethro was
Moses’ benefactor, father-in-law, and a priest. He paid much
respect to him. Now he could invite Jethro into his home (see
B. Jacob, Exodus, 496).
 tn A rare word, “weariness” of the hardships.
 tn Heb “found them.”
 tn Here “how” has been supplied.
 tn The word ה ָד ָח (khada) is rare, occurring only in Job
3:6 and Ps 21:6, although it is common in Aramaic. The LXX
translated it “he shuddered.” U. Cassuto suggests that that
rendering was based on the midrashic interpretation in b.
Sanhedrin 94b, “he felt cuts in his body” – a wordplay on the
verb (Exodus, 215-16).
 tn This is a common form of praise. The verb ְך ּור ָ ּב (barukh)
is the Qal passive participle of the verb. Here must be sup-
plied a jussive, making this participle the predicate: “May
Yahweh be blessed.” The verb essentially means “to enrich”;
in praise it would mean that he would be enriched by the
praises of the people.
 tn Heb “from under the hand of the Egyptians.”
0 tn The end of this sentence seems not to have been
finished, or it is very elliptical. In the present translation the
phrase “he has destroyed them” is supplied. Others take the
last prepositional phrase to be the completion and supply
only a verb: “[he was] above them.” U. Cassuto (Exodus, 216)
takes theword “gods” to be the subject of the verb “act proud-
ly,” giving the sense of “precisely (י ִ ּכ, ki) in respect of these
things ofwhich the gods of Egypt boasted – He is greater than
they (ם ֶהי ֵל ֲע, ‘alehem).” He suggests rendering the clause, “ex-
celling them in the very things to which they laid claim.”
Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering
and sacrifices for God, andAaron and all the el-
ders of Israel came to eat food with the father-in-
law ofMoses before God.
18:13 On the next day Moses sat to judge
the people, and the people stood around Moses
from morning until evening. 18:14 When Moses’
father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the
people, he said, “What is this that you are doing
for the people?Why are you sitting by yourself,
and all the people stand around you from morning
until evening?”
18:15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Be-
cause the people come to me to inquire of God.
18:16When they have a dispute, it comes to me
and I decide0 between a man and his neighbor,
and I make known the decrees of God and his
 tn The verb is “and he took” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). It must
have the sense of getting the animals for the sacrifice. The
Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate have “offered.” But Cody argues
because of the precise wording in the text Jethro did not of-
fer the sacrifices but received them (A. Cody, “Exodus 18,12:
Jethro Accepts a Covenant with the Israelites,” Bib 49 [1968]:
 sn Jethro brought offerings as if he were the one who
had been delivered. The “burnt offering” is singular, to honor
God first. The other sacrifices were intended for the invited
guests to eat (a forerunner of the peace offering). See B. Ja-
cob, Exodus, 498.
 tn The word ם ֶח ֶל (lekhem) here means the sacrifice and
all the foods that were offered with it. The eating before God
was part of covenantal ritual, for it signified that they were in
communion with the Deity, and with one another.
 tn Heb “and it was/happened on themorrow.”
 sn This is a simple summary of the function ofMoses on
this particular day. He did not necessarily do this every day,
but it was time now to do it. The people would come to solve
their difficulties or to hear instruction from Moses on deci-
sions to be made. The tradition of “sitting in Moses’ seat” is
drawn from this passage.
 tn Heb “what is this thing.”
 sn This question, “what are you doing for the people,” is
qualified by the next question. Sitting alone all day and the
people standing around all day showed that Moses was ex-
hibiting toomuch care for the people – he could not do this.
 tn The form is שׁ ֹר ְד ִל (lidrosh), the Qal infinitive construct
giving the purpose. To inquire of God would be to seek God’s
will on a matter, to obtain a legal decision on a matter, or to
settle a dispute. As a judgeMoses is speaking for God, but as
the servant of YahwehMoses’ words will be God’s words. The
psalms would later describe judges as “gods” because they
made the right decisions based on God’s Law.
 tn Or “thing,” “matter,” “issue.”
0 tn The verb ט ַפ ָשׁ (shafat) means “to judge”; more specifi-
cally, it means to make a decision as an arbiter or umpire.
When people brought issues to him,Moses decided between
them. In the section of laws in Exodus after the Ten Com-
mandments come the decisions, the םי ִט ָ ּפ ְשׁ ִמ (mishppatim).
 tn The “decrees” or “statutes” were definite rules, ste-
reotyped and permanent; the “laws” were directives or pro-
nouncements given when situations arose. S. R. Driver sug-
gests this is another reason why this event might have taken
place after Yahweh had given laws on the mountain (Exodus,
171 exodus 18:16
18:17Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What
you are doing is not good! 18:18 You will surely
wear out, both you and these people who are with
you, for this is too heavy a burden for you; you
are not able to do it by yourself. 18:19 Now listen to
me, I will give you advice, and may God be with
you:You be a representative for the people toGod,
and you bring their disputes to God; 18:0 warn
them of the statutes and the laws, andmake known
to them the way in which they must walk0 and
the work they must do. 18:1 But you choose
from the people capable men, God-fearing,
men of truth, those who hate bribes, and put
 tn Heb “the thing.”
 tn The verb means “to fall and fade” as a leaf (Ps 1:3). In
Ps 18:45 it is used figuratively of foes fading away, failing in
strength and courage (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 166). Here the in-
finitive absolute construction heightens themeaning.
 tn Gesenius lists the specialized use of the comparative
min (מ) where with an adjective the thought expressed is that
the quality is too difficult for the attainment of a particular aim
(GKC 430 §133.c).
 tn Here “a burden” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “hearmy voice.”
 tn The line reads “Be you to the people before God.” He
is to be their representative before God. This is introducing
the aspect of the work that onlyMoses could do, what he has
been doing. He is to be before God for the people, to pray for
them, to appeal on their behalf. Jethro is essentially saying, I
understand that you cannot delegate this to anyone else, so
continue doing it (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 219-20).
 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecu-
tive; following the imperative it will be instruction as well.
Since the imperative preceding this had the idea of “continue
to be” as you are, this too has that force.
 tn Heb “words”; KJV, ASV “the causes”; NRSV “cases”;
NLT “questions.”
 tn The perfect tense with the vav (ו) continues the se-
quence of instruction for Moses. He alone was to be the me-
diator, to guide them in the religious andmoral instruction.
0 tn The verb and its following prepositional phrase form
a relative clause, modifying “the way.” The imperfect tense
should be given the nuance of obligatory imperfect – it is the
way theymust walk.
 tn This last part is parallel to the preceding: “work” is
also a direct object of the verb “make known,” and the rela-
tive clause that qualifies it also uses an obligatory imperfect.
 tn The construction uses the independent pronoun for
emphasis, and then the imperfect tense “see” (ה ָז ָח, khazah)
– “and you will see from all….” Both in Hebrew and Ugaritic
expressions of “seeing” are used in the sense of choosing
(Gen 41:33). See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 220.
 tn The expression is ל ִי ַח־י ֵשׁ ְנ ַא (’anshe khayil, “capable
men”). The attributive genitive is the word used in expres-
sions like “mighty man of valor.” The word describes these
men as respected, influential, powerful people, those looked
up to by the community as leaders, and those who will have
the needs of the community inmind.
 tn The description “fearers of God” uses an objective
genitive. It describes them as devout, worshipful, obedient
servants of God.
 tn The expression “men of truth” (ת ֶמ ֱא י ֵשׁ ְנ ַא, ’anshe ’emet)
indicates that thesemenmust be seekers of truth, who know
that the task of a judge is to give true judgment (U. Cassuto,
Exodus, 220). The word “truth” includes the ideas of faithful-
ness or reliability, as well as factuality itself. It could be un-
derstood tomean “truthfulmen,”men whose word is reliable
and true.
 tn Heb “haters of bribes.” Here is another objective geni-
tive, one that refers to unjust gain. To hate unjust gain is to re-
ject and refuse it. Their decisions will not be swayed by greed.
them over the people as rulers of thousands,
rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of
tens. 18: They will judge the people under
normal circumstances,0 and every difficult case
they will bring to you, but every small case they
themselves will judge, so that you may make it
easier for yourself, and they will bear the bur-
den with you. 18:3 If you do this thing, and God
so commands you, then you will be able to en-
dure, and all these people will be able to go0
home satisfied.”
18:4 Moses listened to his father-in-law
and did everything he had said. 18:5 Moses
chose capable men from all Israel, and he made
them heads over the people, rulers of thousands,
rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of
tens. 18:6 They judged the people under nor-
mal circumstances; the difficult cases they would
 tn Heb “over them”; the referent (the people) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn It is not clear how this structure would work in a judi-
cial setting. The language of “captains of thousands,” etc., is
usedmore formilitary ranks. Theremust have beenmore de-
tailed instruction involved here, for each Israelite would have
come under four leaders with this arrangement, and perhaps
difficult cases would be sent to the next level. But since the
task of these men would also involve instruction and guid-
ance, the breakdown would be very useful. Deut 1:9, 13 sug-
gest that the choice of these people was not simply Moses’
 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecu-
tive,making it equivalent to the imperfect of instruction in the
preceding verse.
0 tn Heb “in every time,” meaning “in all normal cases” or
“under normal circumstances.” The same phrase occurs in
v. 26.
 tn Heb “great thing.”
 tn Heb “thing.”
 tn The vav here shows the result or the purpose of the
instructions given.
 tn The expression ָךי ֶל ָע ֵמ ל ֵק ָה ְו (vÿhaqelme’aleykha)means
literally “andmake it light off yourself.” Theword plays against
theword for “heavy” used earlier – since itwas a heavy or bur-
densome task,Mosesmust lighten the load.
 tn Here “the burden” has been supplied.
 tn The form is a Piel perfect with vav (ו) consecutive; it
carries the same nuance as the preceding imperfect in the
conditional clause.
 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive now ap-
pears in the apodosis of the conditional sentence – “if you do
this…then you will be able.”
 tn Heb “to stand.” B. Jacob (Exodus, 501) suggests that
there might be a humorous side to this: “you could even do
this standing up.”
 tn Literally “this people.”
0 tn The verb is the simple imperfect, “will go,” but given
the sense of the passage a potential nuance seems in order.
 tn Heb “his place.”
 tn Heb “in peace.”
sn See further T. D. Weinshall, “The Organizational Struc-
ture Proposed by Jethro to Moses (Ex. 18:17),” Public Admin-
istration in Israel and Abroad 12 (1972): 9-13; and H. Reviv,
“The Traditions Concerning the Inception of the Legal System
in Israel: Significance and Dating,” ZAW 94 (1982): 566-75.
 tn The idiom “listen to the voice of”means “obey, comply
with, heed.”
exodus 18:17 17
bring to Moses, but every small case they would
judge themselves.
18:7 ThenMoses sent his father-in-law on his
way, and so Jethro went to his own land.
Israel at Sinai
19:1 In the third month after the Israelites
went out from the land of Egypt, on the very day,
they came to the Desert of Sinai. 19: After they
journeyed from Rephidim, they came to the Des-
ert of Sinai, and they camped in the desert; Israel
camped there in front of the mountain.0
 tn This verb and the verb in the next clause are imperfect
tenses. In the past tense narrative of the verse they must be
customary, describing continuous action in past time.
 tn The verb ח ַ ּל ַשׁ ְי ַו (vayshallakh) has the same root and
same stem used in the passages calling for Pharaoh to “re-
lease” Israel. Here, in a peaceful and righteous relationship,
Moses sent Jethro to his home.
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jethro) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 tn The prepositional phrase included here Gesenius clas-
sifies as a pleonastic dativus ethicus to give special emphasis
to the significance of the occurrence in question for a particu-
lar subject (GKC 381 §119.s).
 sn This chapter makes an excellent message on spiri-
tual leadership of the people of God. Spiritually responsible
people are to be selected to help in the work of the ministry
(teaching, deciding cases, meeting needs), so that there will
be peace, and so that leaders will not be exhausted. Probably
capable people are more ready to do that than leaders are
ready to relinquish control. But leaders have to be willing to
take the risk, to entrust the task to others. Here Moses is the
model of humility, receiving correction and counsel from Je-
thro. And Jethro is the ideal adviser, for he has no intention of
remaining there to run the operation.
 sn This chapter is essentially aboutmediation. The people
are getting ready tomeet with God, receive the Law from him,
and enter into a covenant with him. All of this requiredmedia-
tion and preparation. Through it all, Israel will become God’s
unique possession, a kingdom of priests on earth – if they
comply with his Law. The chapter can be divided as follows:
vv. 1-8 tell how God, Israel’s great deliverer promised tomake
them a kingdom of priests; this is followed by God’s declara-
tion thatMoses would be themediator (v. 9); vv. 10-22 record
instructions for Israel to prepare themselves to worship Yah-
weh and an account of the manifestation of Yahweh with all
the phenomena; and the chapter closes with the mediation
of Moses on behalf of the people (vv. 23-25). Having been
redeemed from Egypt, the people will now be granted a cov-
enant with God. See also R. E. Bee, “A Statistical Study of the
Sinai Pericope,” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 135
(1972): 406-21.
 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct followed
by the subjective genitive to form a temporal clause.
 tn Heb “on this day.”
 tn The form is a preterite with vav (ו) consecutive, “and
they journeyed.” It is here subordinated to the next clause
as a temporal clause. But since the action of this temporal
clause preceded the actions recorded in v. 1, a translation of
“after” will keep the sequence in order. Verse 2 adds details
to the summary in v. 1.
0 sn The mountain is Mount Sinai, the mountain of God,
the place where God had met and called Moses and had
promised that they would be here to worship him. If this
mountain is Jebel Musa, the traditional site of Sinai, then the
plain in front of it would be Er-Rahah, about a mile and a half
long by half amilewide, fronting themountain on theNW side
(S. R. Driver, Exodus, 169). The plain itself is about 5000 feet
above sea level. A mountain on the west side of the Arabian
Peninsula has also been suggested as a possible site.
19:3 Moses went up to God, and the Lord
called to him from the mountain, “Thus you will
tell the house of Jacob, and declare to the people
of Israel: 19:4 ‘You yourselves have seen what
I did to Egypt and how I lifted you on eagles’
wings and brought you to myself. 19:5And
now, if you will diligently listen to me and
keep my covenant, then you will be my spe-
cial possession out of all the nations, for all
the earth is mine, 19:6 and you will be to me a
kingdom of priests0 and a holy nation.’ These
 tn Heb “andMoses went up.”
 tn This expression is normally translated as “Israelites” in
this translation, but because in this place it is parallel to “the
house of Jacob” it seemed better to offer a fuller rendering.
 tn The figure compares the way a bird would teach its
young to fly and leave the nest with the way Yahweh brought
Israel out of Egypt. The bird referred to could be one of several
species of eagles, butmore likely is the griffin-vulture. The im-
age is that of power and love.
 sn The language here is the language of a bridegroom
bringing the bride to the chamber. Thismay be a deliberate al-
lusion to anothermetaphor for the covenant relationship.
 tn Heb “listen to my voice.” The construction uses the
imperfect tense in the conditional clause, preceded by the
infinitive absolute from the same verb. The idiom “listen to
the voice of” implies obedience, not just mental awareness
of sound.
 tn The verb is a perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive;
it continues the idea in the protasis of the sentence: “and [if
you will] keep.”
 tn The lamed preposition expresses possession here: “to
me”means “my.”
 tn The noun is ה ָ ּל ֻג ְס (sÿgullah), which means a special
possession. Israel was to be God’s special possession, but
the prophets will later narrow it to the faithful remnant. All the
nations belong to God, but Israel was to stand in a place of
special privilege and enormous responsibility. See Deut 7:6;
14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4; andMal 3:17. SeeM. Greenburg, “He-
brew sÿgulla: Akkadian sikiltu,” JAOS 71 (1951): 172ff.
 tn Or “forme” (NIV, NRSV), or, if the lamed (ל) preposition
has a possessive use, “my kingdom” (so NCV).
0 tn The construction “a kingdom of priests” means that
the kingdom is made up of priests. W. C. Kaiser (“Exodus,”
EBC 2:417) offers four possible renderings of the expression:
1) apposition, viz., “kings, that is, priests”; 2) as a construct
with a genitive of specification, “royal priesthood”; 3) as a
construct with the genitive being the attribute, “priestly king-
dom”; and 4) readingwith an unexpressed “and” – “kings and
priests.” He takes the latter view that they were to be kings
and priests. (Other references are R. B. Y. Scott, “A Kingdom
of Priests (Exodus xix. 6),” OTS 8 [1950]: 213-19; William L.
Moran, “A Kingdom of Priests,” The Bible in Current Catholic
Thought, 7-20). However, due to the parallelism of the next
description which uses an adjective, this is probably a con-
struct relationship. This kingdom of God will be composed
of a priestly people. All the Israelites would be living wholly
in God’s service and enjoying the right of access to him. And,
as priests, they would have the duty of representing God to
the nations, following what they perceived to be the duties of
priests – proclaiming God’s word, interceding for people, and
making provision for people to find God through atonement
(see Deut 33:9,10).
 tn They are also to be “a holy nation.” They are to be a na-
tion separate and distinct from the rest of the nations. Here is
another aspect of their duty. It was one thing to be God’s spe-
cial possession, but to be that they had to be priestly and holy.
The duties of the covenant will specify what it would mean to
be a holy nation. In short, they had to keep themselves free
from everything that characterized pagan people (S. R. Driv-
er, Exodus, 171). So it is a bilateral covenant: they received
special privileges but they must provide special services by
the special discipline. See also H. Kruse, “Exodus 19:5 and
173 exodus 19:6
are the words that you will speak to the Israel-
19:7 SoMoses came and summoned the elders
of Israel. He set before them all these words that
the Lord had commanded him, 19:8 and all the
people answered together, “All that the Lord has
commanded we will do!” So Moses brought the
words of the people back to the Lord.
19:9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to
come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people
may hear when I speak with you and so that they
will always believe in you.” And Moses told the
words of the people to the Lord.
19:10 The Lord said toMoses, “Go to the peo-
ple and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and
make them wash their clothes 19:11 and be ready
for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will
come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the
people. 19:1Youmust set boundaries for the peo-
ple all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves
not to go up on the mountain nor touch its edge.
Whoever touches themountainwill surely be put to
death! 19:13 No hand will touch him – but he will
surely be stoned or shot through, whether a beast
or a human being;0 he must not live.’When the
the Mission of Israel,” North East Asian Journal of Theology
24/25 (1980): 239-42.
 tn The verb is an imperfect. The people are not being pre-
sumptuous in stating their compliance – there are several op-
tions open for the interpretation of this tense. It may be clas-
sified as having a desiderative nuance: “we are willing to do”
or, “we will do.”
 tn The construction uses the deictic particle and the par-
ticiple to express the imminent future, what God was about to
do. Here is the first announcement of the theophany.
 tn Heb “the thickness of the cloud”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV,
TEV, CEV, NLT “in a thick cloud.”
 tn Since “and also in you” begins the clause, the empha-
sismust be that the people would also trustMoses. See Exod
4:1-9, 31; 14:31.
 tn This verb is a Piel perfectwith vav (ו) consecutive; it con-
tinues the force of the imperative preceding it. This sanctifi-
cation would be accomplished by abstaining from things that
wouldmake them defiled or unclean, and then by ritual wash-
ings and ablutions.
 tn The form is a perfect 3cpl with a vav (ו) consecutive. It
is instructional as well, but now in the third person it is like a
jussive, “let them wash,make them wash.”
 tn The verb is a Hiphil perfect (“make borders”) with vav (ו)
consecutive, following the sequence of instructions.
 tn The Niphal imperative (“guard yourselves, take heed to
yourselves”) is followed by two infinitives construct that pro-
vide the description of what is to be avoided – going up or
touching themountain.
 sn There is some ambiguity here. The clause eithermeans
that noman will touch themountain, so that if there is some-
one who is to be put to death hemust be stoned or shot since
they could not go into the mountain region to get him, or, it
may mean no one is to touch the culprit who went in to the
region of themountain.
0 tn Heb “aman.”
ram’s horn sounds a long blast they may go up
on the mountain.”
19:14 ThenMoses went down from the moun-
tain to the people and sanctified the people, and
they washed their clothes. 19:15 He said to the
people, “Be ready for the third day. Do not go near
your wives.”
19:16 On the third day in the morning there
was thunder and lightning and a dense cloud
on the mountain, and the sound of a very loud
horn; all the people who were in the camp trem-
bled. 19:17 Moses brought the people out of the
camp to meet God, and they took their place at the
foot of the mountain. 19:18 Now Mount Sinai was
completely covered with smoke because the Lord
had descended on it in fire, and its smoke went up
like the smoke of a great furnace, and the whole
mountain shook violently. 19:19When the sound
of the horn grew louder and louder, Moses was
speaking0 and God was answering him with a
19:0 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai,
on the top of the mountain, and the Lord sum-
moned Moses to the top of the mountain, and
Moses went up. 19:1 The Lord said to Moses,
 tn The nuance here is permissive imperfect, “they may
go up.” The ram’s horn would sound the blast to announce
that the revelation period was over and it was permitted then
to ascend themountain.
 tn Heb “do not go near a woman”; NIV “Abstain from sex-
ual relations.”
sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 537) notes that as the people were
to approach him they were not to lose themselves in earthly
love. Such separations prepared the people formeeting God.
Sinai was like a bride, forbidden to anyone else. Abstinence
was the spiritual preparation for coming into the presence of
the Holy One.
 tn Heb “and it was on.”
 tn Heb “heavy” (ד ֵב ָ ּכ, kaved).
 tn Literally “strong” (ק ָז ָח, khazaq).
 tn The word here is ר ָפ ֹשׁ (shofar), the normal word for
“horn.” This word is used especially to announce something
important in a public event (see 1 Kgs 1:34; 2 Sam 6:15).
The previous word used in the context (v. 16) was ל ֵב ֹי (yovel,
“ram’s horn”).
 sn The image is that of a large kiln, as in Gen 19:28.
 tn This is the same word translated “trembled” above (v.
 tn The active participle ְך ֵל ֹוה (holekh) is used to add the
idea of “continually” to the action of the sentence; here the
trumpet became very loud – continually. See GKC 344 §113.
0 tn The two verbs here (“spoke” and “answered”) are im-
perfect tenses; they emphasize repeated action but in past
time. The customary imperfect usually is translated “would”
or “used to” do the action, but here continuous action in past
time is meant. S. R. Driver translates it “kept speaking” and
“kept answering” (Exodus, 172).
 tn The text simply has ל ֹוק ְ ּב (bÿqol); it could mean “with a
voice” or it could mean “in thunder” since “voice” was used
in v. 16 for thunder. In this context it would be natural to say
that the repeated thunderings were the voice of God – but
how is that an answer? Deut 4:12 says that the people heard
the sound of words. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 232-33) rightly com-
ments, “Hewas answering himwith a loud voice so that itwas
possible for Moses to hear His words clearly in the midst of
the storm.” He then draws a parallel from Ugaritic where it
tells that one of the gods was speaking in a loud voice.
exodus 19:7 174
“Go down and solemnly warn the people, lest
they force their way through to the Lord to look,
and many of them perish. 19: Let the priests
also, who approach the Lord, sanctify themselves,
lest the Lord break through against them.”
19:3 Moses said to the Lord, “The people
are not able to come up to Mount Sinai, because
you solemnly warned us, ‘Set boundaries for the
mountain and set it apart.’” 19:4The Lord said to
him, “Go, get down, and come up, andAaron with
you, but do not let the priests and the people force
their way through to come up to the Lord, lest he
break through against them.” 19:5 SoMoses went
down to the people and spoke to them.
 tn The imperative ד ֵע ָה (ha’ed)means “charge” them – put
them under oath, or solemnly warn them. God wished to en-
sure that the people would not force their way past the barri-
ers that had been set out.
 tn Heb “and fall”; NAB “be struck down.”
 tn The verb ץ ֹר ְפ ִי (yifrots) is the imperfect tense from ץ ַר ָ ּפ
(parats, “to make a breach, to break through”). The image of
Yahweh breaking forth on them means “work destruction”
(see 2 Sam 6:8; S. R. Driver, Exodus, 174).
 tn The construction is emphatic: “because you – you sol-
emnly warned us.”Moses’ response to God is to ask how they
would break through when God had already charged them
not to. God knew them better thanMoses did.
 tn Heb “sanctify it.”
 sn The passage has many themes and emphases that
could be developed in exposition. It could serve for medita-
tion: the theology drawn from the three parts could be sub-
ordinated to the theme of holiness: God is holy, therefore
adhere to his word for service, approach him through a me-
diator, and adore him in purity and fearful reverence. A de-
veloped outline for the exposition could be: I. If the people of
God will obey him, they will be privileged to serve in a unique
way (1-8); II. If the people of God are to obey, they must be
convinced of the divine source of their commands (9); and
finally, III. If the people of God are convinced of the divine
approval of their mediator, and the divine source of their in-
structions, they must sanctify themselves before him (10-
25). In sum, the manifestation of the holiness of Yahweh is
the reason for sanctification and worship. The correlation
is to be made through 1 Peter 2 to the church. The Church
is a kingdom of priests; it is to obey the Word of God. What
is the motivation for this? Their mediator is Jesus Christ; he
has the approval of the Father and manifests the glory of
God to his own; and he declares the purpose of their call-
ing is to display his glory. God’s people are to abstain from
sin so that pagans can see their good works and glorify God.
 sn This chapter is the heart of the Law of Israel, and as
such is well known throughout the world. There is so much
literature on it that it is almost impossible to say anything
briefly and do justice to the subject. But the exposition of
the book must point out that this is the charter of the new
nation of Israel. These ten commands (words) form the pre-
amble; they will be followed by the decisions (judgments).
The Decalogue
0:1 God spoke all these words:
0: “I, the Lord, am your God,0 who
brought you from the land of Egypt, from the
And then in chap. 24 the covenant will be inaugurated. So
when Israel entered into covenant with God, they entered into
a theocracy by expressing their willingness to submit to his au-
thority. The Law was the binding constitution for the nation of
Israel under Yahweh their God. It was specifically given to them
at a certain time and in a certain place. The Law legislated how
Israel was to live in order to be blessed by God and used by
him as a kingdom of priests. In the process of legislating their
conduct and their ritual for worship, the Law revealed God. It
revealed the holiness of Yahweh as the standard for allworship
and service, and in revealing that it revealed or uncovered sin.
But what the Law condemned, the Law (Leviticus) also made
provision for in the laws of the sacrifice and the feasts intended
for atonement. The NT teaches that the Law was good, and
perfect, and holy. But it also teaches that Christ was the end
(goal) of the Law, that it ultimately led to him. It was a peda-
gogue, Paul said, to bring people to Christ. And when the fulfill-
ment of the promise came in him, believerswere not to go back
under the Law. What this means for Christians is that what
the Law of Israel revealed about God and his will is timeless
and still authoritative over faith and conduct, but what the Law
regulated for Israel in their existence as the people of God has
been done awaywith in Christ. The Ten Commandments reveal
the essence of the Law; the ten for themost part are reiterated
in the NT because they reflect the holy and righteous nature of
God. The NT often raises them to a higher standard, to guard
the spirit of the Law aswell as the letter.
 sn The Bible makes it clear that the Law was the revela-
tion of God at Mount Sinai. And yet study has shown that
the law code’s form follows the literary pattern of covenant
codes in the Late Bronze Age, notably the Hittite codes. The
point of such codes is that all the covenant stipulations are
appropriate because of the wonderful things that the sover-
eign has done for the people. God, in using a well-known lit-
erary form, was both drawing on the people’s knowledge of
such to impress their duties on them, as well as putting new
wine into old wineskins. The whole nature of God’s code was
on a much higher level. For this general structure, see M. G.
Kline, Treaty of the Great King. For the Ten Commandments
specifically, see J. J. Stamm and M. E. Andrew, The Ten Com-
mandments in Recent Research (SBT). See also some of the
general articles: M. Barrett, “God’s Moral Standard: An Ex-
amination of the Decalogue,” BV 12 (1978): 34-40; C. J. H.
Wright, “The Israelite Household and the Decalogue: The So-
cial Background and Significance of Some Commandments,”
TynBul 30 (1979): 101-24; J. D. Levenson, “The Theologies of
Commandment in Biblical Israel,” HTR 73 (1980): 17-33; M.
B. Cohen and D. B. Friedman, “The Dual Accentuation of the
Ten Commandments,” Masoretic Studies 1 (1974): 7-190;
D. Skinner, “Some Major Themes of Exodus,” Mid-America
Theological Journal 1 (1977): 31-42; M. Tate, “The Legal Tra-
ditions of the Book of Exodus,” RevExp 74 (1977): 483-509;
E. C. Smith, “The Ten Commandments in Today’s Permissive
Society: A Principleist Approach,” SwJT 20 (1977): 42-58; and
D. W. Buck, “Exodus 20:1-17,” Lutheran Theological Journal
16 (1982): 65-75.
 sn The revelation of Yahweh here beginswith the personal
pronoun. “I” – a person, a living personality, not an object or
a mere thought. This enabled him to address “you” – Israel,
and all his people,making the binding stipulations for them to
conform to his will (B. Jacob, Exodus, 544).
0 tnMostEnglish translationshave“IamYahwehyourGod.”
But the preceding chapters have again and again demonstrat-
ed how hemade himself known to them.Now, the emphasis is
on “I am your God” – and what that wouldmean in their lives.
 tn The suffix on the verb is secondmasculine singular. It is
this person that will be used throughout the commandments
for the whole nation. God addresses them all as his people,
but he addresses them individually for their obedience. The
masculine form is not, thereby, intended to exclude women.
175 exodus 0:
house of slavery.
0:3 “You shall have no other gods beforeme.
0:4 “You shall not make for yourself a
carved image or any likeness of anything that
is in heaven above or that is on the earth beneath
or that is in the water below. 0:5 You shall not
bow down to them or serve them, for I, the
Lord, your God, am a jealous God, responding
 tnHeb “thehouseof slaves”meaning “the landof slavery.”
sn By this announcement Yahweh declared what he had
done for Israel by freeing them from slavery.Now they are free
to serve him. He has a claim on them for gratitude and obedi-
ence. But this will not be a covenant of cruel slavery and op-
pression; it is a covenant of love, as God is saying “I am yours,
and you are mine.” This was the sovereign Lord of creation
and of history speaking, declaring that he was their savior.
 tn The possession is expressed here by the use of the
lamed (ל) preposition and the verb “to be”: ָך ְל ה ֶי ְה ִי־א ֹל (lo’ yihy-
eh lÿkha, “there will not be to you”). The negative with the im-
perfect expresses the emphatic prohibition; it is best reflected
with “you will not” and has the strongest expectation of obedi-
ence (see GKC 317 §107.o). As an additionalway of looking at
this line, U. Cassuto suggests that the verb is in the singular in
order to say that they could not have even one other god, and
the word “gods” is plural to include any gods (Exodus, 241).
 tn The expression י ָנ ָ ּפ־ל ַע (’al-panay) has several possible
interpretations. S. R. Driver suggests “in front of me,” mean-
ing obligingme to behold them, and also giving a prominence
above me (Exodus, 193-94). W. F. Albright rendered it “You
shall not prefer other gods to me” (From the Stone Age to
Christianity, 297, n. 29). B. Jacob (Exodus, 546) illustrates it
with marriage: the wife could belong to only one man while
every other man was “another man.” They continued to ex-
ist but were not available to her. The point is clear from the
Law, regardless of the specific way the prepositional phrase is
rendered. God demands absolute allegiance, to the exclusion
of all other deities. The preposition may imply some antago-
nism, for false gods would be opposed to Yahweh. U. Cassuto
adds that God was in effect saying that anytime Israel turned
to a false god they had to know that the Lord was there – it is
always in his presence, or before him (Exodus, 241).
 tn A ל ֶס ֶ ּפ (pesel) is an image that was carved out of wood
or stone. The Law was concerned with a statue that would be
made for the purpose of worship, an idol to be venerated, and
not any ordinary statue.
 tn The word ה ָנ ּומ ְ ּת (tÿmunah) refers to the mental pat-
tern from which the ל ֶס ֶ ּפ (pesel) is constructed; it is a real or
imagined resemblance. If this is to stand as a second object
to the verb, then the verb itself takes a slightly different nu-
ance here. It would convey “you shall notmake an image, nei-
ther shall you conceive a form” for worship (B. Jacob, Exodus,
547). Some simply make the second word qualify the first:
“you shall notmake an idol in the form of…” (NIV).
 tn Here the phrase “of anything” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “under the earth” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).
 tn The combination of these two verbs customarily refers
to theworship of pagan deities (e.g.,Deut17:3:30:17; Jer8:2;
see J. J. Stamm and M. E. Andrew, The Ten Commandments
in Recent Research [SBT], 86). The first verb is ה ֶו ֲח ַ ּת ְשׁ ִת־ ֹאל (lo’
tishtakhaveh), now to be classified as a hishtaphel imperfect
from ה ָו ָח (khavah; BDB 1005 s.v. החשׁ ), “to cause oneself to
be low to the ground.” It is used of the true worship of God as
well. The second verb is ם ֵד ְב ָע ָת א ֹל ְו (vÿlo’ to’ovdem). The two
could be taken as a hendiadys: “you will not prostrate your-
self to serve them.” In an interesting side comment U. Cas-
suto (Exodus, 242) offers an explanation of the spelling of the
second verb: he suggests that it was spelled with the qamets
khatuf vowel to show contempt for pagan worship, as if their
conduct does not even warrant a correct spelling of the word
“serve.” Gesenius says that the forms like this are anoma-
lous, but he wonders if they were pointed as if the verb was
a Hophal with themeaning “you shall not allow yourself to be
brought toworship them” (GKC161§60.b).But this isunlikely.
 sn The word “jealous” is the same word often translated
to0 the transgression of fathers by dealing with
children to the third and fourth generations of
those who reject me, 0:6 and showing covenant
faithfulness to a thousand generations of those
who love me and keep my commandments.
0:7 “You shall not take the name of the
Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not
“zeal” or “zealous.” The word describes a passionate inten-
sity to protect or defend something that is jeopardized. The
word can also have the sense of “envy,” but in that case the
object is out of bounds. God’s zeal or jealousy is to protect
his people or his institutions or his honor. Yahweh’s honor is
bound up with the life of his people.
0 tn Verses 5 and 6 are very concise, and the word ד ַק ָ ּפ
(paqad) is difficult to translate. Often rendered “visiting,” it
might here be rendered “dealing with” in a negative sense
or “punishing,” but it describes positive attention in 13:19.
When used of God, it essentially means that God intervenes
in the lives of people for blessing or for cursing. Some would
simply translate the participle here as “punishing” the chil-
dren for the sins of the fathers (cf. Lev 18:25; Isa 26:21; Jer
29:32; 36:31; Hos 1:4; Amos 3:2). That is workable, but may
not say enough. The verse may indicate that those who hate
Yahweh and do not keep his commandments will repeat the
sins their fathers committed and suffer for them. Deut 24:16
says that individuals will die for their own sins and not their
father’s sins (see also Deut 7:10 and Ezek 18). It may have
more to do with patterns of sin being repeated from genera-
tion to generation; if the sin and the guilt were not fully devel-
oped in the one generation, then left unchecked they would
develop and continue in the next. But itmay also indicate that
the effects of the sins of the fathers will be experienced in the
following generations, especially in the case of Israel as a na-
tional entity (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 243). God is showing here
that his ethical character is displayed in how he deals with sin
and righteousness, all of which he describes as giving strong
motivation for loyalty to him and for avoiding idolatry. There is
a justice at work in the dealings of God that is not present in
the pagan world.
 tn The Hebrew word for “generations” is not found in v. 5
or 6. The numbers are short for a longer expression, which is
understood as part of the description of the children already
mentioned (see Deut 7:9, where “generation” [ר ֹו ּד, dor] is
present and more necessary, since “children” have not been
 tn This is an important qualification to the principle. The
word rendered “reject” is often translated “hate” and carries
with it the idea of defiantly rejecting and opposing God and
hisword. Such people are doomed to carry on the sins of their
ancestors and bear guilt with them.
 tn Literally “doing loyal love” (ד ֶס ֶח ה ׂ ֶש ֹע, ’oseh khesed). The
noun refers to God’s covenant loyalty, his faithful love to those
who belong to him. These are members of the covenant, re-
cipients of grace, the people of God, whom God will preserve
and protect from evil and its effects.
 tn Heb “to thousands” or “to thousandth.” After “tenth,”
Hebrew uses cardinal numbers for ordinals also. This state-
ment is the antithesis of the preceding line. The “thousands”
or “thousandth [generation]” are those who love Yahweh
and keep his commands. These are descendants from the
righteous, and even associates with them, who benefit from
the mercy that God extends to his people. S. R. Driver (Exo-
dus, 195) says that this passage teaches that God’s mercy
transcends his wrath; in his providence the beneficial conse-
quences of a life of goodness extend indefinitely further than
the retribution that is the penalty for persisting in sin. To say
that God’s loyal love extends to thousands of generations or
the thousandth generation is parallel to saying that it endures
forever (Ps. 118). See also Exod 34:7; Deut 5:10; 7:9; Ps
18:50; Jer 32:18.
 tn Or “use” (NCV, TEV); NIV, CEV, NLT “misuse”; NRSV
“make wrongful use of.”
 tn א ְו ָשׁ (shav’, “vain”) describes “unreality.” The com-
mand prohibits use of the name for any idle, frivolous, or
insincere purpose (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 196). This would in-
exodus 0:3 176
hold guiltless anyone who takes his name in
0:8 “Remember the Sabbath day to set it
apart as holy. 0:9 For six days you may labor
and do all your work, 0:10 but the seventh day
is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; on it you
shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your
daughter, or your male servant, or your female
servant, or your cattle, or the resident foreigner
who is in your gates.0 0:11 For in six days the
clude perjury, pagan incantations, or idle talk. The name is to
be treated with reverence and respect because it is the name
of the holy God.
 tn Or “leave unpunished.”
 tn The text uses the infinitive absolute ר ֹוכ ָז (zakhor) for the
commandment for the Sabbath day, which is the sign of the
Sinaitic Covenant. The infinitive absolute functions in place of
the emphatic imperative here (see GKC 346 §; the
absolute stresses the basic verbal idea of the root – remem-
bering. The verb includes the mental activity of recalling and
pondering as well as the consequent actions for such remem-
 tn The word “Sabbath” is clearly connected to the verb
ת ַב ָשׁ (shavat, “to cease, desist, rest”). There are all kinds of
theories as to the origin of the day, most notably in the Baby-
lonian world, but the differences are striking in so far as the
pagan world had these days filled with magic. Nevertheless,
the pagan world does bear witness to a tradition of a regular
day set aside for special sacrifices. See, for example, H. W.
Wolff, “The Day of Rest in the Old Testament,” LTQ 7 (1972):
65-76; H. Routtenberg, “The Laws of Sabbath: Biblical Sourc-
es,” Dor le Dor 6 (1977): 41-43, 99-101, 153-55, 204-6; G.
Robinson, “The Idea of Rest in the OT and the Search for the
Basic Character of Sabbath,” ZAW 92 (1980): 32-42; and M.
Tsevat, “The Basic Meaning of the Biblical Sabbath,” ZAW 84
(1972): 447-59.
 tn The Piel infinitive construct provides the purpose of re-
membering the Sabbath day – to set it apart, to make it dis-
tinct from the other days. Verses 9 and 10 explain in part how
this was to be done. To set this day apart as holy taught Israel
the difference between the holy and the profane, that there
was something higher than daily life. If an Israelite bent down
to the ground laboring all week, the Sabbath called his atten-
tion to the heavens, to pattern life after the Creator (B. Jacob,
Exodus, 569-70).
 tn The text has simply “six days,” but this is an adverbial
accusative of time, answering how long they were to work
(GKC 374 §118.k).
 tn The imperfect tense has traditionally been rendered as
a commandment, “you will labor.” But the point of this com-
mandment is the prohibition of work on the seventh day. The
permission nuance of the imperfect works well here.
 tn This is the occupation, or business of the work week.
 tn The phrase “on it” has been supplied for clarity.
 sn The wife is omitted in the list, not that she was consid-
ered unimportant, nor that she was excluded from the rest,
but rather in reflecting her high status. She was not man’s
servant, not lesser than the man, but included with the man
as an equal before God. The “you” of the commandments
is addressed to the Israelites individually, male and female,
just as God in the Garden of Eden held both theman and the
woman responsible for their individual sins (see B. Jacob, Ex-
odus, 567-68).
0 sn The Sabbath day was the sign of the Sinaitic Cove-
nant. It required Israel to cease from ordinary labors and de-
vote the day to God. It required Israel to enter into the life of
God, to share his Sabbath. It gave them a chance to recall the
work of the Creator. But in the NT the apostolic teaching for
the Church does not make one day holier than another, but
calls for the entire life to be sanctified to God. This teaching
is an application of the meaning of entering into the Sabbath
of God. The book of Hebrews declares that those who believe
in Christ cease from their works and enter into his Sabbath
rest. For a Christian keeping Saturday holy is not a require-
Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea
and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh
day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day
and set it apart as holy.
0:1 “Honor your father and your mother,
that you may live a long time in the land the
Lord your God is giving to you.
0:13 “You shall not murder.
0:14 “You shall not commit adultery.
0:15 “You shall not steal.
0:16 “You shall not give false testimony
against your neighbor.
0:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s
house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,
ment from the NT; itmay be a good and valuable thing to have
a day of rest and refreshment, but it is not a binding law for
the Church. The principle of setting aside time to worship and
serve the Lord has been carried forward, but the strict regula-
tions have not.
 tn The verb ד ֵ ּב ַ ּכ (kabbed) is a Piel imperative; it calls for
people to give their parents the respect and honor that is ap-
propriate for them. It could be paraphrased to say, give them
the weight of authority that they deserve. Next to God, par-
ents were to be highly valued, cared for, and respected.
 tn Heb “that your daysmay be long.”
 sn The promise here is national rather than individual,
although it is certainly true that the blessing of life was prom-
ised for anyone who was obedient to God’s commands (Deut
4:1, 8:1, etc.). But asW. C.Kaiser (“Exodus,” EBC 2:424) sum-
marizes, the land that was promised was the land of Canaan,
and the duration of Israel in the land was to be based on
morality and the fear of God as expressed in the home (Deut
4:26, 33, 40; 32:46-47). The captivity was in part caused by
a breakdown in this area (Ezek 22:7, 15). Malachi would an-
nounce at the end of his book that Elijah would come at the
end of the age to turn the hearts of the children and the par-
ents toward each other again.
 tn The verb ח ַצ ָר (ratsakh) refers to the premeditated or
accidental taking of the life of another human being; it in-
cludes any unauthorized killing (it is used for the punishment
of a murderer, but that would not be included in the prohibi-
tion). This commandment teaches the sanctity of all human
life. See J. H. Yoder, “Exodus 20,13: ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’,” Int
34 (1980): 394-99; and A. Phillips, “Another Look atMurder,”
JJS 28 (1977): 105-26.
 sn This is a sin against themarriage of a fellow citizen – it
destroys the home. The Law distinguished between adultery
(which had a death penalty) and sexual contact with a young
woman (which carried a monetary fine and usually marriage
if the father was willing). So it distinguished fornication and
adultery. Both were sins, but the significance of each was dif-
ferent. In the ancient world this sin is often referred to as “the
great sin.”
 sn This law protected the property of the Israelite citizen.
See D. Little, “Exodus 20,15: ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’,” Int 34
(1980): 399-405.
 tn Heb “answer” as in a court of law.
 tn The expression ר ֶק ָשׁ ד ֵע (’ed shaqer) means “a lying wit-
ness” (B. S. Childs, Exodus [OTL], 388). In this verse the noun
is an adverbial accusative, “you will not answer as a lying wit-
ness.” The prohibition is against perjury.While the precise ref-
erence would be to legal proceedings, the law probably had
a broader application to lying about other people in general
(see Lev 5:1; Hos 4:2).
 tn The verb ד ַמ ָח (khamad) focuses not on an external act
but on an internal mental activity behind the act, the moti-
vation for it. The word can be used in a very good sense (Ps
19:10; 68:16), but it has a bad connotation in contexts where
the object desired is off limits. This command is aimed at cur-
tailing the greedy desire for something belonging to a neigh-
bor, a desire that leads to the taking of it or the attempt to
take it. It was used in the story of the Garden of Eden for the
tree that was desired.
177 exodus 0:17
nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor
his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that belongs
to your neighbor.”
0:18 All the people were seeing the thun-
dering and the lightning, and heard the sound of
the horn, and saw the mountain smoking – and
when the people saw it they trembled with fear
and kept their distance. 0:19 They said toMoses,
“You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let
God speak with us, lest we die.” 0:0Moses said
to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to
test you, that the fear of him0 may be before you
so that you do not sin.” 0:1 The people kept
their distance, butMoses drew near the thick dark-
ness where God was.
 sn See further G. Wittenburg, “The Tenth Commandment
in the Old Testament,” Journal for Theology in South Africa
21 (1978): 3-17: and E. W. Nicholson, “The Decalogue as the
Direct Address of God,” VT 27 (1977): 422-33.
 tn The participle is used here for durative action in the
past time (GKC 359 §116.o).
 tn The verb “to see” (ה ָא ָר, ra’ah) refers to seeing with all
the senses, or perceiving.W. C. Kaiser suggests that this is an
example of the figure of speech called zeugma because the
verb “saw” yokes together two objects, one that suits the verb
and the other that does not. So, the verb “heard” is inserted
here to clarify (“Exodus,” EBC 2:427).
 tn The verb “saw” is supplied here because it is expected
in English (see the previous note on “heard”).
 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordi-
nated as a temporal clause to the following clause, which re-
ceives the prominence.
 tn The meaning of ַע ּונ (nua’) is “to shake, sway to and fro”
in fear. Compare Isa 7:2 – “and his heart shook…as the trees
of the forest shake with the wind.”
 tn Heb “and they stood from/at a distance.”
 tn The verb is a Piel imperative. In this context it hasmore
of the sense of a request than a command. The independent
personal pronoun “you” emphasizes the subject and forms
the contrast with God’s speaking.
 tn ת ֹו ּס ַנ (nassot) is the Piel infinitive construct; it forms the
purpose of God’s coming with all the accompanying phenom-
ena. The verb can mean “to try, test, prove.” The sense of
“prove” fits this context best because the terrifying phenom-
ena were intended to put the fear of God in their hearts so
that they would obey. In other words, God was inspiring them
to obey, not simply testing to see if they would.
0 tn The suffix on the noun is an objective genitive, refer-
ring to the fear that the people would have of God (GKC 439
 tn The negative form י ִ ּת ְל ִב ְל (lÿvilti) is used here with the
imperfect tense (see for other examples GKC 483 §152.x).
This gives the imperfect the nuance of a final imperfect: that
youmight not sin. Others: to keep you from sin.
 tn Heb “and they stood”; the referent (the people) has
been specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn Theword ל ֶפ ָר ֲע (’arafel) is used in poetry in Ps 18:9 and
1 Kgs 8:12; and it is used in Deut 4:11, 5:22 [19].
 sn It will not be hard to expound the passage on the Ten
Commandments once their place in scripture has been de-
termined. They, for the most part, are reiterated in the NT, in
one way or another, usually with amuch higher standard that
requires attention to the spirit of the laws. Thus, these laws
reveal God’s standard of righteousness by revealing sin. No
wonder the Israelites were afraid when they saw themanifes-
tation of God and heard his laws. When the whole covenant
is considered, preamble and all, then it becomes clear that
the motivation for obeying the commands is the person and
the work of the covenant God – the one who redeemed his
people. Obedience then becomes a response of devotion and
adoration to the Redeemerwho set them free. It becomes loy-
al service, not enslavement to laws. The point could be word-
The Altar
0: The Lord said to Moses: “Thus
you will tell the Israelites: ‘You yourselves have
seen that I have spoken with you from heaven.
0:3 You must not make gods of silver alongside
me, nor make gods of gold for yourselves.
0:4 ‘You must make for me an altar made
of earth, and you will sacrifice on it your burnt
offerings and your peace offerings,0 your sheep
and your cattle. In every place where I cause
my name to be honored I will come to you and
I will bless you. 0:5 If you make me an altar of
stone, you must not build it of stones shaped
with tools, for if you use your tool on it you
ed this way: God requires that his covenant people, whom he
has redeemed, and to whom he has revealed himself, give
their absolute allegiance and obedience to him. This means
they will worship and serve him and safeguard the well-being
of each other.
 sn Based on the revelation of the holy sovereign God,
this pericope instructs Israel on the form of proper worship
of such a God. It focuses on the altar, the centerpiece of wor-
ship. The point of the section is this: those who worship this
holy God must preserve holiness in the way they worship –
they worship where he permits, in the manner he prescribes,
and with the blessings he promises. This paragraph is said
to open the Book of the Covenant, which specifically rules on
matters of life and worship.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
 tn The direct object of the verb must be “gods of silver.”
The prepositional phrasemodifies the whole verse to say that
these gods would then be alongside the one true God.
 tn Heb “neither will youmake for you gods of gold.”
sn U. Cassuto explains that by the understanding of paral-
lelism each of the halves apply to the whole verse, so that
“withme” and “for you” concern gods of silver or gods of gold
(Exodus, 255).
 sn The instructions here call for the altar to be made of
natural things, not things manufactured or shaped by man.
The altar was either to bemade of clumps of earth or natural,
unhewn rocks.
0 sn The “burnt offering” is the offering prescribed in Lev 1.
Everything of this animal went up in smoke as a sweet aroma
to God. It signified complete surrender by the worshiper who
brought the animal, and complete acceptance by God, there-
by making atonement. The “peace offering” is legislated in
Lev 3 and 7. This was a communal meal offering to celebrate
being at peace with God. It was made usually for thanksgiv-
ing, for payment of vows, or as a freewill offering.
 tn Gesenius lists this as one of the few places where the
noun in construct seems to be indefinite in spite of the fact
that the genitive has the article. He says ם ֹוק ָ ּמ ַה־ל ָכ ְ ּב (bÿkhol-
hammaqom) means “in all the place, sc. of the sanctuary,”
and is a dogmatic correction of “in every place” (ם ֹוק ָמ־ל ָ ּכ, kol-
maqom). See GKC 412 §127.e.
 tn The verb is ר ַכ ָז (zakhar, “to remember”), but in the Hi-
phil especially it can mean more than remember or cause to
remember (remind) – it has the sense of praise or honor. B.
S. Childs says it has a denominative meaning, “to proclaim”
(Exodus [OTL], 447). The point of the verse is that God will
give Israel reason for praising and honoring him, and in every
place that occurs he will make his presence known by bless-
ing them.
 tn Heb “them” referring to the stones.
 tn Heb “of hewn stones.” Gesenius classifies this as an
adverbial accusative – “you shall not build them (the stones
of the altar) as hewn stones.” The remoter accusative is in ap-
position to the nearer (GKC 372 §117.kk).
exodus 0:18 178
have defiled it. 0:6And you must not go up by
steps to my altar, so that your nakedness is not ex-
The Decisions
1:1 “These are the decisions that you will set
before them:
Hebrew Servants
1: “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to
serve you for six years, but in the seventh year he
will go out free without paying anything. 1:3 If
he came in by himself0 he will go out by him-
self; if he had a wife when he came in, then
 tn The verb is a preterite with vav (ו) consecutive. It forms
the apodosis in a conditional clause: “if you lift up your tool on
it…you have defiled it.”
 tn Heb “uncovered” (so ASV, NAB).
 sn There follows now a series of rulings called “the deci-
sions” or “the judgments” (םי ִט ָ ּפ ְשׁ ִ ּמ ַה, hammishpatim). A pre-
cept is stated, and then various cases in which the law is ap-
plicable are examined. These rulings are all in harmony with
the Decalogue that has just been given and can be grouped
into three categories: civil or criminal laws, religious or cultic
laws, and moral or humanitarian laws. The civil and criminal
lawsmake upmost of chap. 21; the next two chaptersmix the
other kinds of laws. Among the many studies of this section
of the book are F. C. Fensham, “The Role of the Lord in the
Legal Sections of the Covenant Code,” VT 26 (1976): 262-74;
S. Paul, “Unrecognized Biblical Legal Idioms in Light of Com-
parative Akkadian Expressions,” RB 86 (1979): 231-39; M.
Galston, “The Purpose of the Law According to Maimonides,”
JQR 69 (1978): 27-51.
 sn See H. L. Elleson, “The Hebrew Slave: A Study in Early
Israelite Society,” EvQ 45 (1973): 30-35; N. P. Lemche, “The
Manumission of Slaves – The Fallow Year – The Sabbatical
Year – The Jobel Year,” VT 26 (1976): 38-59, and “The ‘He-
brew Slave,’ Comments on the Slave Law – Ex. 21:2-11,” VT
25 (1975): 129-44.
 tn The verbs in both the conditional clause and the follow-
ing ruling are imperfect tense: “If you buy…then hewill serve.”
The second imperfect tense (the ruling) could be taken either
as a specific future or an obligatory imperfect. Gesenius ex-
plains how the verb works in the conditional clauses here
(see GKC 497 §
 sn The interpretation of “Hebrew” in this verse is uncer-
tain: (1) a gentilic ending, (2) a fellow Israelite, (3) or a class of
mercenaries of the population (seeW. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,”
EBC 2:431). It seems likely that the term describes some-
one born a Hebrew, as opposed to a foreigner (S. R. Driver,
Exodus, 210). The literature on this includes: M. P. Gray, “The
Habiru-Hebrew Problem,” HUCA 29 (1958): 135-202.
 sn Theword י ִשׁ ְפ ָח (khofshi)means “free.” It is possible that
there is some connection between this word and a technical
term used in other cultures for a social class of emancipated
slaves who were freemen again (see I. Mendelsohn, “New
Light on the Hupsu,” BASOR 139 [1955]: 9-11).
 tn The adverb ם ָ ּנ ִח (hinnam) means “gratis, free”; it is re-
lated to the verb “to be gracious, show favor” and the noun
 tn The tense is imperfect, but in the conditional clause it
clearly refers to action that is anterior to the action in the next
clause. Heb “if he comes in single, he goes out single,” that is,
“if he came in single, he will go out single.”
0 tn Heb “with his back”meaning “alone.”
 tn The phrase says, “if he was the possessor of a wife”;
the noun ל ַע ַ ּב (ba’al) can mean “possessor” or “husband.” If
there was a wife, she shared his fortunes or his servitude; if
he entered with her, she would accompany him when he left.
his wife will go out with him. 1:4 If his master
gave him a wife, and she bore sons or daughters,
thewife and the childrenwill belong to hermaster,
and he will go out by himself. 1:5 But if the ser-
vant should declare, ‘I love my master, my wife,
and my children; I will not go out free,’ 1:6 then
his master must bring him to the judges, and he
will bring him to the door or the doorposts, and his
master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall
serve him forever.
1:7 “If a man sells his daughter as a fe-
male servant, she will not go out as the male
servants do. 1:8 If she does not please her
master, who has designated her0 for himself,
then he must let her be redeemed. He has no
 sn The slave would not have the right or themeans to ac-
quire a wife. Thus, the idea of themaster’s “giving” him a wife
is clear – the master would have to pay the bride price and
make the provision. In this case, the wife and the children are
actually the possession of the master unless the slave were
to pay the bride price – but he is a slave because he got into
debt. The law assumes that themasterwas better able to pro-
vide for this woman than the freed slave and that it wasmost
important to keep the children with themother.
 tn The imperfect with the infinitive absolute means that
the declaration is unambiguous, that the servant will clearly
affirm that he wants to stay with the master. Gesenius says
that in a case like this the infinitive emphasizes the impor-
tance of the condition on which some consequence depends
(GKC 342-43 §113.o).
 tn Or taken as a desiderative imperfect, it would say, “I
do not want to go out free.”
 tn The word is םי ִה ֹל ֱא ָה (ha’elohim). S. R. Driver (Exodus,
211) says the phrase means “to God,” namely the nearest
sanctuary in order that the oath and the ritualmight bemade
solemn, although he does say that itwould be done by human
judges. That the reference is to Yahweh God is the view also
of F. C. Fensham, “New Light on Exodus 21:7 and 22:7 from
the Laws of Eshnunna,” JBL 78 (1959): 160-61. Cf. also ASV,
NAB, NASB, NCV, NRSV, NLT. Others have made a stronger
case that it refers to judges who acted on behalf of God; see
C. Gordon, “םיהלא in its Reputed Meaning of Rulers, Judges,”
JBL 54 (1935): 134-44; and A. E. Draffkorn, “Ilani/Elohim,”
JBL 76 (1957): 216-24; cf. KJV, NIV.
 tn Or “till his life’s end” (as in the idiom: “serve him for
 sn This paragraph is troubling to modern readers, but
given the way that marriages were contracted and the way
people lived in the ancient world, it was a good provision for
people who might want to find a better life for their daughter.
On the subject in general for this chapter, seeW.M. Swartley,
Slavery, Sabbath,War, andWomen, 31-64.
 tn The word ה ָמ ָא (’amah) refers to a female servant who
would eventually become a concubine or wife; the sale price
included the amount for the service as well as the bride price
(see B. Jacob, Exodus, 621). The arrangement recognized her
honor as an Israelite woman, one who could be a wife, even
though she entered the household in service. The marriage
was not automatic, as the conditions show, but her treatment
was safeguarded come what may. The law was a way, then,
for a poorman to provide a better life for a daughter.
 tn Heb “and if unpleasant (ה ָע ָר, ra’ah) in the eyes of her
0 tn The verb ד ַע ָי (ya’ad) does notmean “betroth, espouse”
as some of the earlier translations had it, but “to designate.”
When he bought the girl, he designated her for himself, giving
her and her family certain expectations.
 tn The verb is a Hiphil perfect with vav (ו) consecutive
from ה ָד ָפ (padah, “to redeem”). Here in the apodosis the form
is equivalent to an imperfect: “let someone redeem her” –
perhaps her father if he can, or another. U. Cassuto says it
can alsomean she can redeem herself and dissolve the rela-
179 exodus 1:8
right to sell her to a foreign nation, because he
has dealt deceitfully with her. 1:9 If he desig-
nated her for his son, then he will deal with her
according to the customary rights of daughters.
1:10 If he takes another wife, he must not dimin-
ish the first one’s food, her clothing, or hermarital
rights. 1:11 If he does not provide her with these
three things, then shewill go out free,without pay-
ing money.
Personal Injuries
1:1 “Whoever strikes someone so that he
dies0 must surely be put to death. 1:13 But
if he does not do it with premeditation, but it
happens by accident, then I will appoint for
you a place where he may flee. 1:14 But if a
man willfully attacks his neighbor to kill him
tionship (Exodus, 268).
 tn Heb “he has no authority/power,” for the verb means
“rule, have dominion.”
 sn The deceit is in notmaking her his wife or concubine as
the arrangement had stipulated.
 tn Or “after the manner of” (KJV, ASV); NRSV “shall deal
with her as with a daughter.”
 tn “wife” has been supplied.
 tn The translation of “food” does not quite do justice to
the Hebrew word. It is “flesh.” The issue here is that the family
she was to marry into is wealthy, they ate meat. She was not
just to be given the basic food the ordinary people ate, but the
fine foods that this family ate.
 sn See S. Paul, “Exodus 21:10, A Threefold Maintenance
Clause,” JNES 28 (1969): 48-53. Paul suggests that the third
element listed is notmarital rights but ointments since Sume-
rian and Akkadian texts list food, clothing, and oil as the ne-
cessities of life. The translation of “marital rights” is far from
certain, since the word occurs only here. The point is that the
woman was to be cared for with all that was required for a
woman in that situation.
 sn The lessons of slavery and service are designed to
bring justice to existing customs in antiquity. The message is:
Those in slavery for one reason or another should have the
hope of freedom and the choice of service (vv. 2-6). For the
rulings on the daughter, the message could be: Women, who
were often at the mercy of their husbands or masters, must
not be trapped in an unfortunate situation, but be treated
well by their masters or husbands (vv. 7-11). God is prevent-
ing people who have power over others from abusing it.
 sn The underlying point of this section remains vital today:
The people of Godmust treat all human life as sacred.
 tn The construction uses a Hiphil participle in construct
with the noun for “man” (or person as is understood in a law
for the nation): “the one striking [of] a man.” This is a casus
pendens (independent nominative absolute); it indicates the
condition or action that involves further consequence (GKC
361 §116.w).
0 tn The Hebrew word ת ֵמ ָו (vamet) is a Qal perfect with vav
consecutive; itmeans “and he dies” and not “and killed him”
(which requires another stem). Gesenius notes that this form
after a participle is the equivalent of a sentence representing
a contingent action (GKC 333 §112.n). The word shows the
result of the action in the opening participle. It is therefore a
case ofmurder ormanslaughter.
 sn See A. Phillips, “Another Look at Murder,” JJS 28
(1977): 105-26.
 tn Heb “if he does not lie in wait” (NASB similar).
 tn Heb “and God brought into his hand.” The death is un-
intended, its circumstances outside human control.
cunningly, you will take him even from my altar
that he may die.
1:15 “Whoever strikes his father or his
mother must surely be put to death.
1:16 “Whoever kidnaps someone and sells
him, or is caught still holding him, must surely
be put to death.
1:17 “Whoever treats his father or his mother
disgracefully must surely be put to death.
1:18 “If men fight, and one strikes his neigh-
bor with a stone or with his fist and he does not
die, but must remain in bed,0 1:19 and then if
he gets up and walks about outside on his staff,
then the one who struck him is innocent, except he
must pay for the injured person’s loss of time
and see to it that he is fully healed.
1:0 “If a man strikes his male servant or
his female servant with a staff so that he or she
 tn The word ה ָמ ְר ָע (’ormah) is problematic. It could mean
with prior intent, which would be connected with the word in
Prov 8:5, 12 which means “understanding” (or “prudence”
– fully aware of the way things are). It could be connected
also to an Arabic word for “enemy” which would indicate this
was done with malice or evil intentions (U. Cassuto, Exodus,
270). The use here seems parallel to the one in Josh 9:4, an
instance involving intentionality and clever deception.
 sn This is the same construction that was used in v. 12,
but here there is no mention of the parents’ death. This at-
tack, then, does not lead to their death – if he killed one of
them then v. 12 would be the law. S. R. Driver says that the
severity of the penalty was in accord with the high view of par-
ents (Exodus, 216).
 tn Heb “a stealer of a man,” thus “anyone stealing a
 sn The implication is that it would be an Israelite citizen
who was kidnapped and sold to a foreign tribe or country (like
Joseph). There was always a market for slaves. The crime
would be in forcibly taking the individual away from his home
and religion and putting him into bondage or death.
 tn Literally “and he is found in his hand” (KJV and ASV
both similar), being not yet sold.
 tn The form is a Piel participle from ל ַל ָק (qalal), meaning
in Qal “be light,” in Piel “treat lightly, curse, revile, declare con-
temptible, treat shamefully.” (See its use in Lev 19:14; Josh
24:9; Judg 9:26-28; 1 Sam 3:13; 17:43; 2 Sam 16:5-13;
Prov 30:10-11; Eccl 7:21-22; 10:20.) It is opposite of “honor”
(ד ֵב ָ ּכ, kaved; Qal “be heavy”; Piel “honor,” as in 20:12) and of
“bless.” This verse then could refer to any act contrary to the
commandment to honor the parents. B. Jacob (Exodus, 640)
cites parallels in Sumerian where people were severely pun-
ished for publicly disowning their parents. “21:15, 17 taken
together evoke the picture of parents who, physically and ver-
bally, are forcibly turned out of the house (cf. Prov. 19:26)” (C.
Houtman, Exodus, 3:148).
0 tn Heb “falls to bed.”
 tn “and then” has been supplied.
 tn The verb is a Hitpael perfect with vav (ו) consecutive;
it follows the sequence of the imperfect before it – “if he gets
up and walks about.” This is proof of recovery.
 tn The imperfect tense carries a nuance of obligatory im-
perfect because this is binding on the one who hit him.
 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the injured person) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn The word appears to be the infinitive from the verb “to
sit” with a meaning of “his sitting down”; some suggest it is
from the verb “to rest” with ameaning “cease.” In either case
the point in the context must mean compensation is due for
the time he was down.
 tn Heb “so that he”; the words “or she” have been sup-
plied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
exodus 1:9 180
dies as a result of the blow, he will surely be pun-
ished. 1:1 However, if the injured servant sur-
vives one or two days, the owner will not be pun-
ished, for he has suffered the loss.
1: “If men fight and hit a pregnant woman
and her child is born prematurely, but there is no
serious injury, he will surely be punished in accor-
dance with what the woman’s husband demands
of him, and he will pay what the court decides.
1:3 But if there is serious injury, then you will
give a life for a life, 1:4 eye for eye, tooth for
tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 1:5 burn for
burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
1:6 “If a man strikes the eye of his male ser-
vant or his female servant so that he destroys it,
he will let the servant0 go free as compensa-
tion for the eye. 1:7 If he knocks out the tooth
of his male servant or his female servant, he will
 tn Heb “under his hand.”
 tn Heb “will be avenged” (how is not specified).
 tn Heb “if he”; the referent (the servant struck and injured
in the previous verse) has been specified in the translation
for clarity.
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner of the injured ser-
vant) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
 tn This last clause is a free paraphrase of the Hebrew, “for
he is his money” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “his property.” It seems
that if the slave survives a couple of days, it is probable that
the master was punishing him and not intending to kill him.
If he then dies, there is no penalty other than that the owner
loses the slave who is his property – he suffers the loss.
 tn This line has occasioned a good deal of discussion. It
may indicate that the child was killed, as in a miscarriage; or
itmaymean that there was a premature birth. The latter view
is taken here because of the way the whole section is written:
(1) “her children come out” reflects a birth and not the loss of
children, (2) there is no serious damage, and (3) payment is
to be set for any remuneration. The word ן ֹוס ָא (’ason) is trans-
lated “serious damage.” The word was taken in Mekilta to
mean “death.” U. Cassuto says the point of the phrase is that
neither the woman or the children that are born die (Exodus,
275). But see among the literature on this: M. G. Kline, “Lex
Talionis and the Human Fetus,” JETS 20 (1977): 193-201;W.
House, “Miscarriage or Premature Birth: Additional Thoughts
on Exodus 21:22-25,” WTJ 41 (1978): 108-23; S. E. Loewen-
stamm, “Exodus XXI 22-25,” VT 27 (1977): 352-60.
 tn The word םי ִל ִל ְפ ִ ּב (biflilim)means “with arbitrators.” The
point then seems to be that the amount of remuneration for
damages that was fixed by the husband had to be approved
by the courts. S. R. Driver mentions an alternative to this un-
usual reading presented by Budde, reading םילפנב as “un-
timely birth” (Exodus, 219). See also E. A. Speiser, “The Stem
PLL in Hebrew,” JBL 82 (1963): 301-6.
 sn The text now introduces the Lex Talioniswith cases that
were not likely to have applied to the situation of the pregnant
woman. See K. Luke, “Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth,” Indian
Theological Studies 16 (1979): 326-43.
 tn The form ּה ָת ֲח ִשׁ ְו (vÿshikhatah) is the Piel perfect with the
vav (ל) consecutive, rendered “and destroys it.” The verb is a
strong one,meaning “to ruin, completely destroy.”
0 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the male or female servant)
has been specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn Interestingly, the verb used here for “let him go” is the
same verb throughout the first part of the book for “release”
of the Israelites from slavery. Here, an Israelite will have to re-
lease the injured slave.
let the servant go free as compensation for the
Laws about Animals
1:8 “If an ox gores a man or a woman
so that either dies, then the ox must surely be
stoned and its flesh must not be eaten, but the
owner of the ox will be acquitted. 1:9 But if
the ox had the habit of goring, and its owner was
warned, and he did not take the necessary pre-
cautions, and then it killed a man or a woman,
the ox must be stoned and the man must be put to
death. 1:30 If a ransom is set for him, then he
must pay the redemption for his life according to
whatever amount was set for him. 1:31 If the ox0
gores a son or a daughter, the owner will be dealt
with according to this rule. 1:3 If the ox gores a
male servant or a female servant, the ownermust
pay thirty shekels of silver, and the ox must be
1:33 “If a man opens a pit or if a man digs
a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a don-
key falls into it, 1:34 the owner of the pit must
repay the loss. He must give money to its
 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the male or female servant)
has been specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn The point that this section of the laws makes is that
one must ensure the safety of others by controlling the cir-
 tn Traditionally “ox,” but “bull” would also be suitable.
The termmay refer to one of any variety of large cattle.
 tn Heb “and he dies”; KJV “that they die”; NAB, NASB “to
 tn The text uses ל ֵק ָ ּס ִי ל ֹוק ָס (saqol yissaqel), a Qal infinitive
absolute with a Niphal imperfect. The infinitive intensifies the
imperfect, which here has an obligatory nuance or is a future
of instruction.
 tn The Hophal perfect has the idea of “attested, testified
 tn Heb “he was not keeping it” or perhaps guarding or
watching it (referring to the ox).
 sn The family of the victim would set the amount for the
ransom of the man guilty of criminal neglect. This practice
was common in the ancient world, rare in Israel. If the family
allowed the substitute price, then the man would be able to
redeem his life.
0 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the ox) has been specified in the
translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner) has been specified
in the translation for clarity.
 tnHeb“according to this judgment itshallbedone tohim.”
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner) has been specified
in the translation for clarity.
 sn A shekel was a unit for measure by means of a scale.
Both the weight and the value of a shekel of silver are hard to
determine. “Though there is no certainty, the shekel is said to
weigh about 11,5 grams” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:181). Over
four hundred years earlier, Joseph was sold into Egypt for 20
shekels. The free Israelite citizen was worth about 50 shekels
(Lev 27:3f.).
 sn See further B. S. Jackson, “The Goring Ox Again [Ex.
21,28-36],” JJP 18 (1974): 55-94.
 tn The verb is a Piel imperfect from ם ַל ָשׁ (shalam); it has
the idea of making payment in full, making recompense, re-
paying. These imperfects could be given a future tense trans-
lation as imperfects of instruction, but in the property cases
an obligatory imperfect fits better – this is what he is bound or
obliged to do – what hemust do.
 tn Heb “silver.”
181 exodus 1:34
owner, and the dead animal will become his.
1:35 If the ox of one man injures the ox of his
neighbor so that it dies, then they will sell the live
ox and divide its proceeds, and they will also di-
vide the dead ox. 1:36Or if it is known that the ox
had the habit of goring, and its owner did not take
the necessary precautions, he must surely pay ox
for ox, and the dead animal will become his.
Laws about Property
:1 (21:37) “If a man steals an ox or a sheep
and kills it or sells it, he must pay back five head
of cattle for the ox, and four sheep for the one
: “If a thief is caught0 breaking in and
is struck so that he dies, there will be no blood
guilt for him. :3 If the sun has risen on him,
then there is blood guilt for him. A thief must
 tn Here the term “animal” has been supplied.
 tn Literally “its silver” or “silver for it.”
 tn Heb “divide the dead.” The noun “ox” has been sup-
 tn The construction now uses the same Piel imperfect (v.
34) but adds the infinitive absolute to it for emphasis.
 sn The point of this section (21:28-36) seems to be that
one must ensure the safety of others by controlling one’s
property and possessions. This section pertained to neglect
with animals, but the message would have applied to similar
situations. The people of God were to take heed to ensure the
well-being of others, and if there was a problem, it had to be
made right.
 sn The next section of laws concerns property rights.
These laws protected property from thieves and oppressors,
but also set limits to retribution. Themessage could be: God’s
laws demand that the guilty make restitution for their crimes
against property and that the innocent be exonerated.
 sn Beginningwith :, the verse numbers through :
in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the He-
brew text (BHS), with : ET = : HT, : ET = :
HT, etc., through : ET = :0 HT. Thus in the English
Bible ch. 22 has 31 verses, while in the Hebrew Bible it has
30 verses, with the one extra verse attached to ch. 21 in the
Hebrew Bible.
 tn The imperfect tense here has the nuance of obligatory
imperfect – hemust pay back.
 tn ר ַק ָ ּב (baqar) and ןא ֹצ (tso’n) are the categories to which
the ox and the sheep belonged, so that the criminal had some
latitude in paying back animals.
0 tn Heb “found” (so KJV, ASV, NRSV).
 tn The word ת ֶר ֶ ּת ְח ַ ּמ ַ ּב (bammakhteret) means “digging
through” the walls of a house (usually made of mud bricks).
The verb is used only a few times and has themeaning of dig
in (as into houses) or row hard (as in Jonah 1:13).
 tn The text has “there is not to him bloods.” When the
word “blood” is put in the plural, it refers to bloodshed, or the
price of blood that is shed, i.e., blood guiltiness.
sn This law focuses on what is reasonable defense against
burglary. If someone killed a thief who was breaking in dur-
ing the night, he was not charged because he would not have
known it was just a thief, but if it happened during the day, he
was guilty of a crime, on the assumption that in daylight the
thief posed no threat to the homeowner’s life and could be
stopped andmade to pay restitution.
 tn The words “a thief” have been added for clarifica-
tion. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 224) thinks that these lines are out
of order, since some of them deal with killing the thief and
then others with the thief making restitution, but rearrang-
ing the clauses is not a necessary way to bring clarity to the
paragraph. The idea here would be that any thief caught alive
would pay restitution.
surelymake full restitution; if he has nothing, then
he will be sold for his theft. :4 If the stolen item
should in fact be found alive in his possession,
whether it be an ox or a donkey or a sheep, hemust
pay back double.
:5 “If aman grazes his livestock in a field
or a vineyard, and he lets the livestock loose and
they graze in the field of another man, he must
make restitution from the best of his own field and
the best of his own vineyard.
:6 “If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn
bushes,0 so that stacked grain or standing grain or
the whole field is consumed, the one who started
the fire must surely make restitution.
:7 “If a man gives his neighbor money or
articles for safekeeping, and it is stolen from
the man’s house, if the thief is caught, he must
repay double. :8 If the thief is not caught,
then the owner of the house will be brought be-
fore the judges to see whether he has laid
 tn The construction uses a Niphal infinitive absolute and
a Niphal imperfect: if it should indeed be found. Gesenius
says that in such conditional clauses the infinitive absolute
has less emphasis, but instead emphasizes the condition on
which some consequence depends (see GKC 342-43 §113.
 tn Heb “in his hand.”
 sn Hemust pay back one for what he took, and then one
for the penalty – his loss as he was inflicting a loss on some-
one else.
 tn The verb ר ַע ָ ּב (ba’ar, “graze”) as a denominative from
the word “livestock” is not well attested. So some have sug-
gested that with slight changes this verse could be read: “If a
man cause a field or a vineyard to be burnt, and let the burn-
ing spread, and it burnt in anotherman’s field” (see S. R. Driv-
er, Exodus, 225).
 tn The phrase “his livestock” is supplied from the next
 tn Heb “if a fire goes out and finds”; NLT “if a fire gets out
of control.”
0 sn Thorn bushes were used for hedges between fields,
but thorn bushes also burned easily, making the fire spread
 tn This is a Hiphil participle of the verb “to burn, kindle”
used substantivally. This is the one who caused the fire,
whether by accident or not.
 tn The word usually means “vessels” but can have the
sense of household goods and articles. It could be anything
from jewels and ornaments to weapons or pottery.
 tn Heb “to keep.” Here “safekeeping,” that is, to keep
something secure on behalf of a third party, is intended.
 tn Heb “found.”
 tn Heb “found.”
 tn Here again the word used is “the gods,” meaning the
judges who made the assessments and decisions. In addi-
tion to other works, see J. R. Vannoy, “The Use of the Word
ha’elohim in Exodus 21:6 and 22:7,8,” The Law and the
Prophets, 225-41.
 tn The phrase “to see” has been supplied.
 tn The line says “if he has not stretched out his hand.”
This could be the oath formula, but the construction here
would be unusual, or it could be taken as “whether” (see W.
C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:438). U. Cassuto (Exodus, 286)
does not think the wording can possibly fit an oath; neverthe-
less, an oath would be involved before God (as he takes it in-
stead of “judges”) – if the man swore, his word would be ac-
cepted, but if he would not swear, he would be guilty.
exodus 1:35 18
his hand on his neighbor’s goods. :9 In all cases
of illegal possessions, whether for an ox, a don-
key, a sheep, a garment, or any kind of lost item,
about which someone says ‘This belongs to me,’
the matter of the two of them will come before
the judges, and the one whom the judges de-
clare guilty must repay double to his neighbor.
:10 If a man gives his neighbor a donkey or an
ox or a sheep or any beast to keep, and it dies or
is hurt or is carried away without anyone seeing
it, :11 then there will be an oath to the Lord
between the two of them, that he has not laid his
hand on his neighbor’s goods, and its owner will
accept this, and he will not have to pay. :1 But
if it was stolen0 from him, he will pay its owner.
:13 If it is torn in pieces, then he will bring it for
evidence, and he will not have to pay for what
was torn.
:14 “If a man borrows an animal from his
neighbor, and it is hurt or dies when its owner was
not with it, the man who borrowed it will surely
pay. :15 If its owner was with it, he will not have
to pay; if it was hired, what was paid for the hire
covers it.
 tn Heb “concerning every kind [thing] of trespass.”
 tn The text simply has “this is it” (ה ֶז א ּוה, hu’ zeh).
 tn Again, or “God.”
 tn This kind of clause Gesenius calls an independent rela-
tive clause – it does not depend on a governing substantive
but itself expresses a substantival idea (GKC 445-46 §138.
 tn The verb means “to be guilty” in Qal; in Hiphil it would
have a declarative sense, because a causative sense would
not possibly fit.
 tn The form is a Niphal participle from the verb “to break”
– “is broken,” which means harmed, maimed, or hurt in any
 tn This verb is frequently used with the meaning “to take
captive.” The idea here then is that raiders or robbers have
carried off the animal.
 tn Heb “there is no one seeing.”
 tn The construct relationship ה ָוה ְי ת ַע ֻב ְשׁ (shÿvu’at yÿhvah,
“the oath of Yahweh”) would require a genitive of indirect ob-
ject, “an oath [to] Yahweh.” U. Cassuto suggests that itmeans
“an oath by Yahweh” (Exodus, 287). The person to whom the
animal was entrusted would take a solemn oath to Yahweh
that he did not appropriate the animal for himself, and then
his word would be accepted.
0 tn Both with this verb “stolen” and in the next clauses
with “torn in pieces,” the text uses the infinitive absolute con-
struction with less than normal emphasis; as Gesenius says,
in conditional clauses, an infinitive absolute stresses the im-
portance of the condition on which some consequence de-
pends (GKC 342-43 §113.o).
 sn The point is that the man should have taken better
care of the animal.
 tn The word ד ֵע (’ed) actually means “witness,” but the
dead animal that is returned is a silent witness, i.e., evidence.
The word is an adverbial accusative.
 tn Heb “if a man asks [an animal] from his neighbor”
(see also Exod 12:36). The ruling here implies an animal is
borrowed, and if harm comes to it when the owner is not with
it, the borrower is liable. The word “animal” is supplied in the
translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (themanwho borrowed the ani-
mal) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn Literally “it came with/for its hire,” this expression im-
plies that the ownerwho hired it out andwas presentwas pre-
pared to take the risk, so there would be no compensation.
Moral and Ceremonial Laws
:16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not
engaged and has sexual relations with her, he
must surely endow her to be his wife. :17 If
her father refuses to give her to him, he must pay
money for the bride price of virgins.
:18 “Youmust not allow a sorceress to live.0
:19 “Whoever has sexual relations with a
beast must surely be put to death.
:0 “Whoever sacrifices to a god other than
the Lord alone must be utterly destroyed.
:1 “You must not wrong a foreigner nor
oppress him, for you were foreigners in the land
of Egypt.
: “You must not afflict any widow or
orphan. :3 If you afflict them in any way
and they cry to me, I will surely hear their cry,
:4 and my anger will burn and I will kill you
 sn The second half of the chapter records various laws of
purity and justice. Any of them could be treated in an exposi-
tory way, but in the present array they offer a survey of God’s
righteous standards: Maintain the sanctity of marriage (16-
17);maintain the purity of religious institutions (18-20),main-
tain the rights of human beings (21-28), maintain the rights
of Yahweh (29-31).
 tn This is the word ה ָל ּות ְ ּב (bÿtulah); it describes a young
woman who is not married or a young woman engaged to be
married; in any case, she is presumed to be a virgin.
 tn Or “pledged” formarriage.
 tn The verb ר ַה ָמ (mahar)means “pay themarriage price,”
and the related noun is the bride price. B. Jacob says this was
a proposal gift and not a purchase price (Exodus, 700). This
is the price paid to her parents, which allowed for provision
should there be a divorce. The amount was usually agreed on
by the two families, but the price was higher for a pure bride
from a noble family. Here, the one who seduces hermust pay
it, regardless of whether hemarries her or not.
0 sn There still were many who wished to follow pagan be-
liefs and consort with the dead (see Deut 18:10-11). The sor-
ceress was someone who dealt with drugs or herbs for occult
 tn Heb “lies with.”
 tn Heb “not to Yahweh.”
 tn The verb ם ַר ָח (kharam) means “to be devoted” to God
or “to be banned.” The idea is that it would be God’s to do
with as he liked. What was put under the ban was for God
alone, either for his service or for his judgment. But it was out
of human control. Here the verb is saying that the person will
be utterly destroyed.
 tn Or “oppress.”
 tn Or “alien,” both here and in 23:9. This individual is a
resident foreigner; he lives in the land but, aside from provi-
sions such as this,might easily be without legal rights.
 tn The verb “afflict” is a Piel imperfect from ה ָנ ָע (’anah);
it has a wide range of meanings: “afflict, oppress, humiliate,
rape.” These victims are at themercy of the judges, business-
men, or villains. The righteous king and the righteous people
will notmistreat them (see Isa 1:17; Job 31:16, 17, 21).
 tn The accusative here is the masculine singular pro-
noun, which leads S. R. Driver to conclude that this line is out
of place, even though the masculine singular can be used in
places like this (Exodus, 232). U. Cassuto says its use is to
refer to certain classes (Exodus, 292).
 tn Here again and with “cry” the infinitive absolute func-
tions with a diminished emphasis (GKC 342-43 §113.o).
 tn Here is the normal use of the infinitive absolute with
the imperfect tense to emphasize the verb: “Iwill surely hear,”
implying, “I will surely respond.”
183 exodus :4
with the sword, and your wives will be widows
and your children will be fatherless.
:5 “If you lend money to any of my peo-
ple who are needy among you, do not be like a
moneylender to him; do not charge him interest.
:6 If you do take the garment of your neighbor
in pledge, you must return it to him by the time
the sun goes down, :7 for it is his only cover-
ing – it is his garment for his body.What else can
he sleep in?And0 when he cries out to me, I will
hear, for I am gracious.
:8 “You must not blaspheme God or
curse the ruler of your people.
:9 “Do not hold back offerings from your
granaries or your vats. You must give me the
firstborn of your sons. :30 You must also do
this for your oxen and for your sheep; seven
 sn The punishment will follow the form of talionic justice,
an eye for an eye, in which the punishment matches the
crime. Godwill use invading armies (“sword” is ametonymy of
adjunct here) to destroy them,making theirwiveswidows and
their children orphans.
 tn “any of” has been supplied.
 sn The moneylender will be demanding and exacting. In
Ps 109:11 and 2 Kgs 4:1 the word is rendered as “extortion-
 tn Heb “set.”
 sn In ancient times money was lent primarily for poverty
and not for commercial ventures (H. Gamoran, “The Biblical
Law against Loans on Interest,” JNES 30 [1971]: 127-34).
The lending to the poorwas essentially a charity, and so not to
be an opportunity tomakemoney from another person’smis-
fortune. The word ְך ֶשׁ ֶנ (neshekh) may be derived from a verb
that means “to bite,” and so the idea of usury or interest was
that of putting out one’s money with a bite in it (See S. Stein,
“The Laws on Interest in the Old Testament,” JTS 4 [1953]:
161-70; and E. Neufeld, “The Prohibition against Loans at In-
terest in the Old Testament,” HUCA 26 [1955]: 355-412).
 tn The construction again uses the infinitive absolute with
the verb in the conditional clause to stress the condition.
 tn The clause uses the preposition, the infinitive con-
struct, and the noun that is the subjective genitive – “at the
going in of the sun.”
 tn Heb “his skin.”
 tn Literally the text reads, “In what can he lie down?” The
cloakwould be used for a covering at night to use when sleep-
ing. The garment, then, was the property that could not be
taken and not given back – it was the last possession. The
modern idiom of “the shirt off his back” gets at the point be-
ingmade here.
0 tn Heb “and it will be.”
 tn The two verbs in this verse are synonyms: ל ַל ָק (qalal)
means “to treat lightly, curse,” and ר ַר ָא (’arar) means “to
 tn The word םי ִה ֹל ֱא (’elohim) is “gods” or “God.” If taken
as the simple plural, it could refer to the human judges, as it
has in the section of laws; this would match the parallelism
in the verse. If it was taken to refer to God, then the idea of
cursing Godwould bemore along the line of blasphemy. B. Ja-
cob says that the word refers to functioning judges, and that
would indirectly mean God, for they represented the religious
authority, and the prince the civil authority (Exodus, 708).
 tn The expressions are unusual. U. Cassuto renders
them: “from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow
of your presses” (Exodus, 294). He adds the Hittite parallel
material to show that the people were to bring the offerings
on time and not let them overlap, because the firstfruits had
to be eaten first by the priest.
days they may remain with their mothers, but give
them to me on the eighth day.
:31 “You will be holy people to me; you
must not eat anymeat torn by animals in the field.
You must throw it to the dogs.
3:1 “Youmust not give a false report.Do
notmake common cause with the wicked0 to be
a malicious witness.
3: “Youmusntoftollowacrowdindoingevtihlings;ilnaawsuyitoumusntootffeterstimontyhaatgreeswithacrowdso
as to pervert justice, 3:3 and you must not show
partiality to a poor man in his lawsuit.
3:4 “If you encounter your enemy’s ox or
donkey wandering off, you must by all means
return it to him. 3:5 If you see the donkey of
someone who hates you fallen under its load,
 sn The use of this word here has to do with the laws of
the sanctuary and not some advanced view of holiness. The
ritual holiness at the sanctuary would prohibit eating anything
torn to pieces.
 tn Or “by wild animals.”
 sn People who claim to worship and serve the righteous
judge of the universemust preserve equity and justice in their
dealings with others. These verses teach that God’s people
must be honest witnesses (1-3); God’s people must be righ-
teous even with enemies (4-5); and God’s peoplemust be fair
in dispensing justice (6-9).
 tn Heb “take up, lift, carry” (א ׂ ָש ָנ, nasa’). This verb was
also used in the prohibition against taking “the name of Yah-
weh in vain.” Sometimes the object of this verb is physical,
as in Jonah 1:12 and 15. Used in this prohibition involving
speech, it covers both originating and repeating a lie.
 tn Or “a groundless report” (see Exod 20:7 for the word
א ְו ָשׁ , shav’).
 tn Heb “do not put your hand” (cf. KJV, ASV); NASB “join
your hand.”
0 tn The word “wicked” (ע ָשׁ ָר, rasha’) refers to the guilty
criminal, the person who is doing something wrong. In the
religious setting it describes the person who is not a mem-
ber of the covenant and may be involved in all kinds of sin,
even though there is the appearance of moral and spiritual
 tn The word ס ָמ ָח (khamas) often means “violence” in the
sense of social injustices done to other people, usually the
poor and needy. A “malicious” witness would do great harm
to others. See J.W.McKay, “Exodus 23:1-3, 6-8: A Decalogue
for Administration of Justice in the City Gate,” VT 21 (1971):
 tn The word םי ִ ּב ָר (rabbim), here rendered “crowd,” is also
used infrequently to refer to the “mighty,” people of impor-
tance in society (Job 35:9; cf. Lev 19:15).
 tn For any individual to join a group that is bent on act-
ing wickedly would be a violation of the Law and would incur
personal responsibility.
 tn Heb “you will not answer in a lawsuit to turn after the
crowd to turn.” The form translated “agrees with” (Heb “to
turn after”) is a Qal infinitive construct from ה ָט ָנ (natah); the
same root is used at the end of the verse but as a Hiphil infini-
tive construct, “to pervert [justice].”
 tn The point here is one of false sympathy and honor, the
bad sense of the word ר ַד ָה (hadar; see S. R. Driver, Exodus,
 tn Heb “meet” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).
 tn The construction uses the imperfect tense (taken here
as an obligatory imperfect) and the infinitive absolute for em-
exodus :5 184
youmust not ignore him, but be sure to help him
with it.
3:6 “You must not turn away justice for your
poor people in their lawsuits. 3:7 Keep your dis-
tance from a false charge – do not kill the in-
nocent and the righteous, for I will not justify the
3:8 “You must not accept a bribe, for a bribe
blinds those who see and subverts the words of
the righteous.
3:9 “You must not oppress a foreigner, since
you know the life0 of a foreigner, for you were
foreigners in the land of Egypt.
Sabbaths and Feasts
3:10 “For six years you are to sow your
land and gather in its produce. 3:11 But in the
seventh year you must let it lie fallow and
leave it alone so that the poor of your people
may eat, and what they leave any animal in the
field may eat; you must do likewise with your
vineyard and your olive grove. 3:1 For six
days you are to do your work, but on the seventh
day you must cease, in order that your ox and
your donkey may rest and that your female ser-
 tn The line reads “you will cease to forsake him” – refrain
from leaving your enemy without help.
 tn The law is emphatic here as well, using the infinitive
absolute and the imperfect of instruction (or possibly obliga-
tion). There is also a wordplay here: two words ב ַז ָע (’azav) are
used, onemeaning “forsake” and the other possiblymeaning
“arrange” based on Arabic and Ugaritic evidence (see U. Cas-
suto, Exodus, 297-98).
 sn See H. B. Huffmon, “Exodus 23:4-5: A Comparative
Study,” A Light UntoMy Path, 271-78.
 tn Or “stay away from,” or “have nothing to do with.”
 tn Heb “a false matter,” this expression in this context
would have to be a case in law that was false or that could
only be won by falsehood.
 tn The two clauses probably should be related: the getting
involved in the false charge could lead to the death of an in-
nocent person (so, e.g., Naboth in 1 Kgs 21:10-13).
 sn God will not declare right the one who is in the wrong.
Society should also be consistent, but it cannot see the in-
tents andmotives, as God can.
 tn Heb “blinds the open-eyed.”
 tn The verb means “to crush.” S. R. Driver notes that in
this context this would probably mean with an unfair judg-
ment in the courts (Exodus, 239).
0 tn Heb “soul, life” – “you know what it feels like.”
 sn This section concerns religious duties of the people
of God as they worship by giving thanks to God for their bless-
ings. The principles here are: God requires his people to al-
low the poor to share in their bounty (10-11); God requires
his people to provide times of rest and refreshment for those
who labor for them (12); God requires allegiance to himself
(13); God requires his people to come before him in gratitude
and share their bounty (14-17); God requires that his people
safeguard proper worship forms (18-19).
 tn Heb “and six years”; this is an adverbial accusative
telling how long they can work their land. The following refer-
ences to years and days in vv. 10-12 function similarly.
 tn Heb “and the seventh year”; an adverbial accusative
with a disjunctive vav (ו).
 tn Heb “living thing/creature/beast of the field.” A gener-
al term for animals, usually wild animals, including predators
(cf. v. 29; Gen 2:19-20; Lev 26:22; Deut 7:22; 1 Sam 17:46;
Job 5:22-23; Ezek 29:5; 34:5).
vant’s son and any hired help may refresh them-
3:13 “Pay attention to do everything I have
told you, and do not even mention the names
of other gods – do not let them be heard on your
3:14 “Three times0 in the year you must
make a pilgrim feast to me. 3:15You are to ob-
serve the Feast ofUnleavened Bread; seven days
you must eat bread made without yeast, as I com-
manded you, at the appointed time of themonth of
Abib, for at that time you came out of Egypt. No
one may appear before me empty-handed.
3:16 “You are also to observe the Feast of
Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors that you have
sown in the field, and the Feast of Ingathering
at the end of the year when you have gathered
in your harvest out of the field. 3:17At three
times in the year all your males will appear before
the Lord god.0
 tnHeb “alien,” or “resident foreigner.” Such an individual
would have traveled out of need and depended on the good-
will of the people around him. The rendering “hired help” as-
sumes that the foreigner ismentioned in this context because
he isworking for an Israelite andwill benefit from the Sabbath
rest, along with his employer.
 tn The verb is שׁ ֵפ ָ ּנ ִ ּי ְו (vÿyyinnafesh); it is related to the word
usually translated “soul” or “life.”
 tn The phrase “to do” is added; in Hebrew word order the
line says, “In all that I have said to you you will watch your-
selves.” The verb for paying attention is a Niphal imperfect
with an imperatival force.
 tn Or “honor,” Hiphil of ר ַכ ָז (zakhar). See also Exod 20:25;
Josh 23:7; Isa 26:13.
 tn Heb “mouth.”
sn See also Ps 16:4, where David affirms his loyalty to God
with this expression.
0 tn The expression rendered “three times” is really “three
feet,” or “three foot-beats.” The expression occurs only a few
times in the Law. The expression is an adverbial accusative.
 tn This is the word ג ֹח ָ ּת (takhog) from the root ג ַג ָח (khagag);
it describes a feast that was accompanied by a pilgrimage. It
was first used byMoses in his appeal that Israel go three days
into the desert to hold such a feast.
 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.
 tn Heb “in it.”
 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; the nuance of permis-
sion works well here – no one is permitted to appear before
God empty (Heb “and they will not appear before me emp-
 tn The words “you are also to observe” are not in the He-
brew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic rea-
 tn An infinitive construct with a preposition and a pro-
nominal suffix is used to make a temporal clause: “in the go-
ing in of the year.” The word “year” is the subjective genitive,
the subject of the clause.
 tn An infinitive construct with a preposition and a pro-
nominal suffix is used to make a temporal clause: “in the in-
gathering of you.”
 tn Heb “gathered in your labors.” This is a metonymy of
cause put for the effect. “Labors” are not gathered in, but
what the labors produced – the harvest.
 tn Adverbial accusative of time: “three times” becomes
“at three times.”
0 tn Here the divine Name reads in Hebrew ה ָוה ְי ן ֹד ָא ָה
(ha’adon yÿhvah), which if rendered according to the tradition-
al scheme of “Lord” for “Yahweh” would result in “Lord Lord.”
A number of English versions therefore render this phrase
“Lord God,” and that convention has been followed here.
185 exodus 3:17
3:18 “You must not offer the blood of my
sacrifice with bread containing yeast; the fat ofmy
festal sacrifice must not remain until morning.
3:19 The first of the firstfruits of your soil you
must bring to the house of the Lord your God.
“You must not cook a young goat in its moth-
er’s milk.
The Angel of the Presence
3:0 “I am going to send an angel be-
fore you to protect you as you journey and to
bring you into the place that I have prepared.
3:1 Take heed because of him, and obey his
voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not par-
don your transgressions, for my name is in him.
 tn The verb is ח ַ ּב ְז ִ ּת (tizbbakh), an imperfect tense from
the same root as the genitive that qualifies the accusative
“blood”: “you will not sacrifice the blood of my sacrifice.” The
verbmeans “to slaughter”; since one cannot slaughter blood,
amore general translation is required here. But if the genitive
is explained as “my blood-sacrifice” (a genitive of specifica-
tion; like “the evil of your doings” in Isa 1:16), then a transla-
tion of sacrifice would work (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 304).
 sn See N. Snaith, “Exodus 23:18 and 34:25,” JTS 20
(1969): 533-34; see alsoM. Haran, “The Passover Sacrifice,”
Studies in the Religion of Ancient Israel (VTSup), 86-116.
 sn On this verse, see C. M. Carmichael, “On Separat-
ing Life and Death: An Explanation of Some Biblical Laws,”
HTR 69 (1976): 1-7; J. Milgrom, “You Shall Not Boil a Kid in
Its Mother’s Milk,” BRev 1 (1985): 48-55; R. J. Ratner and
B. Zuckerman, “In Rereading the ‘Kid in Milk’ Inscriptions,”
BRev 1 (1985): 56-58; and M. Haran, “Seething a Kid in Its
Mother’s Milk,” JJS 30 (1979): 23-35. Here and at 34:26,
where this command is repeated, it ends a series of instruc-
tions about procedures for worship.
 sn This passage has some of the most interesting and
perplexing expressions and constructions in the book. It is
largely promise, but it is part of the Law and so demands
compliance by faith. Its points are: God promises to send his
angel to prepare the way before his obedient servants (20-
23); God promises blessing for his loyal servants (24-33). So
in the section one learns that God promises his protection
(victory) and blessing (through his angel) for his obedient and
loyal worshipers.
 tn The particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) with the active participle indi-
cates imminent future, something God is about to do.
 sn The word is ְך ָא ְל ַמ (mal’akh, “messenger, angel”). This
angel is to be treated with the same fear and respect as Yah-
weh, for Yahweh will be speaking in him. U. Cassuto (Exodus,
305-6) says that the words of the first clause do not imply a
being distinct from God, for in the ancient world the line of
demarcation between the sender and the sent is liable easily
to be blurred. He then shows how the “Angel of Yahweh” in
Genesis is Yahweh. He concludes that the words here mean
“I will guide you.” Christian commentators tend to identify the
Angel of Yahweh as the second person of the Trinity (W. C. Kai-
ser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:446). However, in addition to being
a preincarnate appearance, the word could refer to Yahweh
– somemanifestation of Yahweh himself.
 tn Heb “protect you in the way.”
 tn The form is the Hiphil perfect of the verb ן ּו ּכ (kun, “to
establish, prepare”).
 sn This means “the manifestation of my being” is in him
(S. R. Driver, Exodus, 247). Driver quotes McNeile as saying,
“The ‘angel’ is Jehovah Himself ‘in a temporary descent to vis-
ibility for a special purpose.’” Others take the “name” to rep-
resent Yahweh’s “power” (NCV) or “authority” (NAB, CEV).
3: But if you diligently obey him0 and do all
that I command, then I will be an enemy to your
enemies, and I will be an adversary to your adver-
saries. 3:3 For my angel will go before you and
bring you to theAmorites, the Hittites, the Perizz-
ites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites,
and I will destroy them completely.
3:4 “You must not bow down to their gods;
you must not serve them or do according to their
practices. Instead you must completely overthrow
them and smash their standing stones to pieces.
3:5 You must serve the Lord your God, and
he will bless your bread and your water, and
I will remove sickness from your midst. 3:6 No
woman will miscarry her young or be barren in
your land. I will fulfill the number of your days.
3:7 “I will send my terror before you,
and I will destroy0 all the people whom you en-
counter; I will make all your enemies turn their
backs to you. 3:8 I will send hornets before
you that will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite,
and the Hittite before you. 3:9 I will not drive
them out before you in one year, lest the land
0 tn The infinitive absolute here does not add as great an
emphasis as normal, but emphasizes the condition that is be-
ing set forth (see GKC 342-43 §113.o).
 tn Heb “will cut them off” (so KJV, ASV).
 tn The Hebrew is ם ֶהי ֵת ֹב ֵ ּצ ַמ (matsevotehem, “their stand-
ing stones”); these long stones were erected to represent the
abode of the numen or deity. They were usually set up near
the altar or the high place. To destroy these would be to de-
stroy the centers of Canaanite worship in the land.
 tn Both verbs are joined with their infinitive absolutes to
provide the strongest sense to these instructions. The images
of the false gods in Canaan were to be completely and utterly
destroyed. This could not be said anymore strongly.
 tn The perfect tense, masculine plural, with vav (ו) con-
secutive is in sequence with the preceding: do not bow down
to them, but serve Yahweh. It is then the equivalent of an im-
perfect of instruction or injunction.
 tn The LXX reads “and I will bless” tomake the verb con-
form with the speaker, Yahweh.
 sn On this unusual clause B. Jacob says that it is the re-
versal of the curse in Genesis, because the “bread and wa-
ter” represent the field work and ground suitability for abun-
dant blessing of provisions (Exodus, 734).
 tn Or “abort”; Heb “cast.”
 sn No one will die prematurely; this applies to the indi-
vidual or the nation. The plan of God to bless was extensive, if
only the people would obey.
 tn The word for “terror” is י ִת ָמי ֵא (’emati); the word has the
thought of “panic” or “dread.” God would make the nations
panic as they heard of the exploits and knew the Israelites
were drawing near. U. Cassuto thinks the reference to “hor-
nets” in v. 28may be a reference to this fear, an unreasoning
dread, rather than to another insect invasion (Exodus, 308).
Others suggest it is symbolic of an invading army or a country
like Egypt or literal insects (see E. Neufeld, “Insects as War-
fare Agents in the Ancient Near East,” Or 49 [1980]: 30-57).
0 tn Heb “kill.”
 tn The text has “and I will give all your enemies to you
[as] a back.” The verb of making takes two accusatives, the
second being the adverbial accusative of product (see GKC
371-72 §117.ii, n. 1).
 tn Heb “and I will send.”
exodus 3:18 186
become desolate and the wild animals multiply
against you. 3:30 Little by little I will drive them
out before you, until you become fruitful and in-
herit the land. 3:31 I will set your boundaries
from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and
from the desert to the River, for I will deliver the
inhabitants of the land into your hand, and youwill
drive them out before you.
3:3 “You must make no covenant with them
orwith their gods. 3:33Theymust not live in your
land, lest they make you sin against me, for if you
serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”
The Lord Ratifies the Covenant
4:1 But to Moses the Lord said, “Come
up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abi-
hu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and wor-
ship from a distance. 4: Moses alone may
come0 near the Lord, but the others must not
 tn Heb “the beast of the field.”
 tn The repetition expresses an exceptional or super-fine
quality (see GKC 396 §123.e).
 tn The form is a perfect tense with vav consecutive.
 tn In the Hebrew Bible “the River” usually refers to the Eu-
phrates (cf. NASB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT). There is some
thought that it refers to a river Nahr el Kebir between Leba-
non and Syria. See further W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC
2:447; and G. W. Buchanan, The Consequences of the Cov-
enant (NovTSup), 91-100.
 tn The idea of the “snare” is to lure them to judgment;
God is apparently warning about contactwith the Canaanites,
either in worship or in business. They were very syncretistic,
and so it would be dangerous to settle among them.
 sn Exod 24 is the high point of the book in many ways,
but most importantly, here Yahweh makes a covenant with
the people – the Sinaitic Covenant. The unit not only serves to
record the event in Israel’s becoming a nation, but it provides
a paradigm of the worship of God’s covenant people – enter-
ing into the presence of the glory of Yahweh. See additionally
W. A. Maier, “The Analysis of Exodus 24 According to Modern
Literary, Form, and Redaction Critical Methodology,” Spring-
fielder 37 (1973): 35-52. The passage may be divided into
four parts for exposition: vv. 1-2, the call for worship; vv. 3-8,
the consecration of the worshipers; vv. 9-11, the confirmation
of the covenant; and vv. 12-18, the communication with Yah-
 tn Heb “And he;” the referent (the Lord) has been speci-
fied in the translation for clarity.
 sn They were to come up to the Lord after they had made
the preparations that are found in vv. 3-8.
 sn These seventy-four people were to go up themountain
to a certain point. Then theywere to prostrate themselves and
worship Yahweh as Moses went further up into the presence
of Yahweh. Moses occupies the lofty position of mediator (as
Christ in the NT), for he alone ascends “to Yahweh” while ev-
eryone waits for his return. The emphasis of “bowing down”
and that from “far off” stresses again the ominous presence
that was on the mountain. This was the holy God – only the
designatedmediator could draw near to him.
0 tn The verb is a perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive;
it and the preceding perfect tense follow the imperative, and
so have either a force of instruction, or, as taken here, are the
equivalent of an imperfect tense (of permission).
 tn Heb “they.”
come near, nor may the people go up with him.”
4:3 Moses came and told the people all the
Lord’s words and all the decisions. All the peo-
ple answered together, “We arewilling to do all
the words that the Lord has said,” 4:4 andMoses
wrote down all the words of the Lord. Early in the
morning he built an altar at the foot of themoun-
tain and arranged twelve standing stones0 – ac-
cording to the twelve tribes of Israel. 4:5 He sent
young Israelitemen, and they offered burnt offer-
ingsand sacrificedyoungbulls forpeaceofferings
to the Lord. 4:6Moses took half of the blood and
put it in bowls, and half of the blood he splashed on
the altar. 4:7He took theBook of theCovenant
 tn Now the imperfect tense negated is used; here the
prohibition would fit (“they will not come near”), or the obliga-
tory (“they must not”) in which the subjects are obliged to act
– or not act in this case.
 sn The general consensus among commentators is
that this refers to Moses’ coming from the mountain after he
made the ascent in 20:21. Here he came and told them the
laws (written in 20:22-23:33), and of the call to come up to
 sn The Decaloguemay not be included here because the
people had heard those commands themselves earlier.
 tn The text simply has “one voice” (ד ָח ֶא ל ֹוק, qol ’ekhad);
this is an adverbial accusative ofmanner, telling how the peo-
ple answered – “in one voice,” or unanimously (see GKC 375
 tn The verb is the imperfect tense (ה ׂ ֶש ֲע ַנ, na’aseh), al-
though the form could be classified as a cohortative. If the
latter, they would be saying that they are resolved to do what
God said. If it is an imperfect, then the desiderative would
make themost sense: “we are willing to do.” They are not pre-
sumptuously saying they are going to do all these things.
 tn The two preterites quite likely form a verbal hendiadys
(the verb “to get up early” is frequently in such constructions).
Literally it says, “and he got up early [in the morning] and he
built”; this means “early [in the morning] he built.” The first
verb becomes the adverb.
 tn “under.”
 tn The verb “arranged” is not in the Hebrew text but
has been supplied to clarify exactly what Moses did with the
twelve stones.
0 tn The thing numbered is found in the singular when the
number is plural – “twelve standing-stone.” See GKC 433
§134.f. The “standing-stone” could be a small piece about
a foot high, or a huge column higher than men. They served
to commemorate treaties (Gen 32), or visions (Gen 28) or
boundaries, or graves. Here it will function with the altar as
a place of worship.
 tn The construct has “young men of the Israelites,” and
so “Israelite” is a genitive that describes them.
 tn The verbs and their respective accusatives are cog-
nates. First, they offered up burnt offerings (see Lev 1), which
is ת ֹל ֹע ּול ֲע ַ ּי ַו (vayya’alu ’olot); then they sacrificed young bulls
as peace sacrifices (Lev 3), which is in Hebrew םי ִח ָב ְז ּוח ְ ּב ְז ִ ּי ַו
(vayyizbÿkhu zÿvakhim). In the first case the cognate accusa-
tive is the direct object; in the second it is an adverbial accu-
sative of product. See on this covenant ritual H. M. Kamsler,
“The Blood Covenant in the Bible,” Dor le Dor 6 (1977): 94-
98; E. W. Nicholson, “The Covenant Ritual in Exodus 24:3-8,”
VT 32 (1982): 74-86.
 sn The people and Yahweh through this will be united by
blood, for half was spattered on the altar and the other half
spattered on/toward the people (v. 8).
 tn The noun “book” would be the scroll just written con-
taining the laws of chaps. 20-23. On the basis of this scroll
the covenant would be concluded here. The reading of this
book would assure the people that it was the same that they
had agreed to earlier. But now their statement of willingness
to obey would be more binding, because their promise would
187 exodus 4:7
and read it aloud to the people, and they said,
“We are willing to do and obey all that the Lord
has spoken.” 4:8 So Moses took the blood and
splashed it on the people and said, “This is the
blood of the covenant that the Lord has made
with you in accordance with all these words.”
4:9Moses andAaron, Nadab andAbihu, and
the seventy elders of Israel went up, 4:10 and
they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there
was something like a pavementmade of sapphire,
clear like the sky itself. 4:11 But he did not lay a
hand0 on the leaders of the Israelites, so they saw
be confirmed by a covenant of blood.
 tn Heb “read it in the ears of.”
 tn A second verb is now added to the people’s response,
and it is clearly an imperfect and not a cohortative, lending
support for the choice of desiderative imperfect in these com-
mitments – “wewant to obey.” This was their compliancewith
the covenant.
 tn Given the size of the congregation, the preposition
might be rendered here “toward the people” rather than on
them (all).
 sn The construct relationship “the blood of the covenant”
means “the blood by which the covenant is ratified” (S. R.
Driver, Exodus, 254). The parallel with the inauguration of the
new covenant in the blood of Christ is striking (see, e.g., Matt
26:28, 1 Cor 11:25). When Jesus was inaugurating the new
covenant, he was bringing to an end the old.
 tn The verse begins with “and Moses went up, and Aar-
on….” This versemay supply the sequel to vv. 1-2. At any rate,
God was now accepting them into his presence.
sn This next section is extremely interesting, but difficult to
interpret. For some of the literature, see: E.W.Nicholson, “The
Interpretation of Exodus 24:9-11,” VT 24 (1974): 77-97; “The
Antiquity of the Tradition in Exodus 24:9-11,” VT 26 (1976):
148-60; and T. C. Vriezen, “The Exegesis of Exodus 24:9-11,”
OTS 17 (1967): 24-53.
 sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 254) wishes to safeguard the
traditional idea that God could not be seen by reading “they
saw the place where the God of Israel stood” so as not to say
they saw God. But according to U. Cassuto there is not a great
deal of difference between “and they saw the God” and “the
Lord God appeared” (Exodus, 314). He thinks that the word
“God” is used instead of “Yahweh” to say that a divine phe-
nomenon was seen. It is in the LXX that they add “the place
where he stood.” In v. 11b the LXX has “and they appeared
in the place of God.” See James Barr, “Theophany and An-
thropomorphism in the Old Testament,” VTSup 7 (1959): 31-
33. There is no detailed description here of what they saw (cf.
Isa 6; Ezek 1). What is described amounts to what a person
could see when prostrate.
 sn S. R. Driver suggests that they saw the divine Glory, not
directly, but as they looked up from below, through what ap-
peared to be a transparent blue sapphire pavement (Exodus,
 tn Or “tiles.”
 tn Heb “and like the body of heaven for clearness.” The
Hebrew term ם ִי ַמ ָשׁ (shamayim)may be translated “heaven” or
“sky” depending on the context; here, where sapphire ismen-
tioned (a blue stone) “sky” seems more appropriate, since
the transparent blueness of the sapphire would appear like
the blueness of the cloudless sky.
0 tnHeb“hedidnotstretchouthishand,”i.e.,todestroythem.
God, and they ate and they drank.
4:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to
me to the mountain and remain there, and I will
give you the stone tablets with the law and the
commandments that I have written, so that you
may teach them.” 4:13 SoMoses set outwith
Joshua his attendant, and Moses went up the
mountain of God. 4:14 He told the elders, “Wait
for us in this place untilwe return to you.Here are
Aaron and Hur with you. Whoever has any mat-
ters of dispute0 can approach them.”
4:15 Moses went up the mountain, and
the cloud covered the mountain. 4:16 The glo-
ry of the Lord resided on Mount Sinai, and
 tn The verb is ה ָז ָח (khazah); it canmean “to see, perceive”
or “see a vision” as the prophets did. The LXX safeguarded
this by saying, “appeared in the place of God.” B. Jacob says
they beheld – prophetically, religiously (Exodus, 746) – but
themeaning of that is unclear. The fact that God did not lay a
hand on them – to kill them – shows that they saw something
that they never expected to see and live. Some Christian in-
terpreters have taken this to refer to a glorious appearance of
the preincarnate Christ, the second person of the Trinity. They
saw the brilliance of this manifestation – but not the detail.
Later, Moses will still ask to see God’s glory – the real pres-
ence behind the phenomena.
 sn This is the covenant meal, the peace offering, that
they are eating there on the mountain. To eat from the sac-
rifice meant that they were at peace with God, in covenant
with him. Likewise, in the new covenant believers draw near
to God on the basis of sacrifice, and eat of the sacrifice be-
cause they are at peace with him, and in Christ they see the
Godhead revealed.
 sn Now the last part is recorded in whichMoses ascends
to Yahweh to receive the tablets of stone. As Moses disap-
pears into the clouds, the people are given a vision of the
glory of Yahweh.
 sn These are the stone tablets on which the Ten Com-
mandments would be written. This is the first time they are
mentioned. The commandmentswere apparently proclaimed
by God first and then proclaimed to the people byMoses.Now
that they have been formally agreed on and ratified, they will
be written by God on stone for a perpetual covenant.
 tn Or “namely”; or “that is to say.” The vav (ו) on the noun
does not mean that this is in addition to the tablets of stone;
the vav is explanatory. Gesenius has “to wit”; see GKC 484-
85 §154.a, n. 1(b).
 tn The last word of the verse is ם ָת ֹר ֹוה ְל (lÿhorotam), the
Hiphil infinitive construct of ה ָר ָי (yarah). It serves as a purpose
clause, “to teach them,” meaning “I am giving you this Law
and these commands in order that youmay teach them.” This
duty to teach the Law will be passed especially to parents
(Deut 6:6-9, 20-25) and to the tribe of Levi as a whole (Deut
33:9-10;Mal 2:1-9).
 tn Heb “and he arose”meaning “started to go.”
 tn Heb “and.”
 tn The word ה ֵ ּנ ִה (hinneh) calls attention to the presence
of Aaron and Hur to answer the difficult cases that might
come up.
0 tn Or “issues to resolve.” The term is simply םי ִר ָב ְ ּד
(dÿvarim, “words, things,matters”).
 tn The imperfect tense here has the nuance of potential
imperfect. In the absence of Moses and Joshua, Aaron and
Hur will be available.
sn Attention to the preparation for Moses’ departure con-
tributes to the weight of the guilt of the faithless Israelites
(chap. 32) and of Aaron, to whom Moses had delegated an
important duty.
 sn The verb is ן ֹ ּכ ְשׁ ִ ּי ַו (vayyishkon, “and dwelt, abode”).
From this is derived the epithet “the Shekinah Glory,” the
dwelling or abiding glory. The “glory of Yahweh” was a display
visible at a distance, clearly in view of the Israelites. To them
it was like a consuming fire in themidst of the cloud that cov-
exodus 4:8 188
the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh
day he called to Moses from within the cloud.
4:17Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord
was like a devouring fire on the top of the moun-
tain in plain view of the people. 4:18Moses went
into the cloudwhen hewent up themountain, and
Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty
The Materials for the Sanctuary
5:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 5: “Tell
the Israelites to take an offering for me; from
ered themountain. That fire indicated that Yahweh wished to
accept their sacrifice, as if it were a pleasant aroma to him,
as Leviticus would say. This “appearance” indicated that the
phenomena represented a shimmer of the likeness of his glo-
ry (B. Jacob, Exodus, 749). The verb, according to U. Cassuto
(Exodus, 316), also gives an inkling of the next section of the
book, the building of the “tabernacle,” the dwelling place, the
ן ָ ּכ ְשׁ ִמ (mishkan). The vision of the glory of Yahweh confirmed
the authority of the revelation of the Law given to Israel. This
chapter is the climax of God’s bringing people into covenant
with himself, the completion of his revelation to them, a com-
pletion that is authenticated with themiraculous. It ends with
the mediator going up in the clouds to be with God, and the
people down below eagerly awaiting his return. The message
of the whole chapter could be worded this way: Those whom
God sanctifies by the blood of the covenant and instructs by
the book of the covenant may enjoy fellowship with him and
anticipate a far more glorious fellowship. So too in the NT the
commandments and teachings of Jesus are confirmed by his
miraculous deeds and by his glorious manifestation on the
Mount of the Transfiguration, where a few who represented
the disciples would see his glory and be able to teach others.
The people of the new covenant have been brought into fel-
lowship with God through the blood of the covenant; they wait
eagerly for his return from heaven in the clouds.
 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.
 tn Heb “to the eyes of” which couldmean in their opinion.
 tn The verb is a preterite with vav (ו) consecutive; here, the
second clause, is subordinated to the first preterite, because
it seems that the entering into the cloud is the dominant point
in this section of the chapter.
 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 750) offers this description of some
of the mystery involved in Moses’ ascending into the cloud:
Moses ascended into the presence of God, but remained on
earth. He did not rise to heaven – the ground remained firmly
under his feet. But he clearly was brought into God’s pres-
ence; he was like a heavenly servant before God’s throne,
like the angels, and he consumed neither bread nor water.
The purpose of his being therewas to become familiarwith all
God’s demands and purposes. He would receive the tablets
of stone and all the instructions for the tabernacle that was to
be built (beginning in chap. 25). He would not descend until
the sin of the golden calf.
 sn Now begin the detailed instructions for constructing
the tabernacle of Yahweh, with all its furnishings. The first
paragraph introduces the issue of the heavenly pattern for
the construction, calls for the people tomake willing offerings
(vv. 2-7), and explains the purpose for these offerings (vv. 8-
9). The message here is that God calls his people to offer of
their substance willingly so that his sanctuarymay bemade.
 tn The verb is ּוח ְק ִי ְו (vÿyiqkhu), the Qal imperfect or jussive
with vav; after the imperative “speak” this verb indicates the
purpose or result: “speak…that theymay take” and continues
with the force of a command.
 tn The “offering” (ה ָמ ּור ְ ּת, tÿrumah) is perhaps better under-
stood as a contribution since it was a freewill offering. There
is some question about the etymology of the word. The tra-
ditional meaning of “heave-offering” derives from the idea
of “elevation,” a root meaning “to be high” lying behind the
word. B. Jacob says it is something sorted out of a mass of
material and designated for a higher purpose (Exodus, 765).
every person motivated by a willing heart you
are to receive my offering. 5:3 This is the of-
fering you0 are to accept from them: gold, sil-
ver, bronze, 5:4 blue, purple, scarlet, fine lin-
en, goat’s hair, 5:5 ram skins dyed red, fine
leather, acacia wood, 5:6 oil for the light,
spices for the anointing oil and for fragrant in-
cense, 5:7 onyx stones, and other gems to be
set in the ephod and in the breastpiece. 5:8 Let
S. R. Driver (Exodus, 263) corrects the idea of “heave-offer-
ing” by relating the root to the Hiphil form of that root, herim,
“to lift” or “take off.” He suggests the noun means “what is
taken off” from a larger mass and so designated for sacred
purposes. The LXX has “something taken off.”
 tn The verb ּו ּנ ֶב ְ ּד ִי (yiddÿvennu) is related to the word for the
“freewill offering” (ה ָב ָד ְנ, nÿdavah). The verb is used of volun-
teering formilitary campaigns (Judg 5:2, 9) and the willing of-
ferings for both the first and second temples (see 1 Chr 29:5,
6, 9, 14, 17).
 tn The pronoun is plural.
0 tn The pronoun is plural.
 sn The blue refers to dye made from shellfish. It has a
dark blue or purple-blue, almost violet color. No significance
for the color is attached.
 sn Likewise this color dye was imported from Phoenicia,
where it was harvested from the shellfish or snail. It is a deep
purple-red color.
 sn This color is made from the eggs and bodies of the
worm coccus ilicus, which is found with the holly plant – so
Heb “worm of brilliance.” The powder made from the dried
maggots produces a bright red-yellow color (W. C. Kaiser, Jr.,
“Exodus,” EBC 2:452). B. Jacob takes the view that these are
not simply colors that are being introduced here, but fabrics
dyed with these colors (Exodus, 765). At any rate, the se-
quence would then bemetals, fabrics, and leathers (v. 5).
 sn This is generally viewed as a fine Egyptian linen that
hadmanymore delicate strands than ordinary linen.
 sn Goat’s hair was spun into yarn (35:26) and used to
make the material for the first tent over the dwelling. It is ide-
al for tenting, since it is loosely woven and allows breezes to
pass through, but with rain the fibers expand and prevent wa-
ter from seeping through.
 sn W. C. Kaiser compares this to morocco leather (“Exo-
dus,” EBC 2:453); it was skin that had all the wool removed
and then was prepared as leather and dyed red. N.M. Sarna,
on the other hand, comments, “The technique of leather pro-
duction is never described [in ancient Hebrew texts]. Hence,
it is unclear whether Hebrew me’oddamim (םי ִמ ָ ּד ָא ְמ), literally
‘made red,’ refers to the tanning or dyeing process” (Exodus
[JPSTC], 157).
 tn The meaning of the word םי ִשׁ ָח ְ ּת (tÿkhashim) is debat-
ed. The Arabic tuhas or duhas is a dolphin, and so some think
a sea animal ismeant – something like a dolphin or porpoise
(cf. NASB; ASV “sealskins”; NIV “hides of sea cows”). Porpois-
es are common in the Red Sea; their skins are used for cloth-
ing by the bedouin. The word has also been connected to an
Egyptianword for “leather” (ths); see S.R.Driver, Exodus, 265.
Some variation of this is followed by NRSV (“fine leather”) and
NLT (“fine goatskin leather”). Another suggestion connects
this word to an Akkadian one that describes a precious stone
that is yellow or ornge and also leather died with the color of
this stone (N.M. Sarna, Exodus [JPSTC], 157-58).
 sn The wood of the acacia is darker and harder than oak,
and so very durable.
189 exodus 5:8
them make for me a sanctuary, so that I may live
among them. 5:9According to all that I am show-
ing you – the pattern of the tabernacle and the
pattern of all its furnishings – you must make it
exactly so.
 tn The verb is a perfect with vav (ו) consecutive; it follows
in the sequence initiated by the imperative in v. 2 and contin-
ues with the force of a command.
 tn The word here isשׁ ּד ְק ִמ (miqdash), “a sanctuary” or “holy
place”; cf. NLT “sacred residence.” The purpose of building
it is to enable Yahweh to reside (י ִ ּת ְנ ַכ ָשׁ ְו, vÿshakhanti) in their
midst. U. Cassuto reminds the reader that God did not need
a place to dwell, but the Israelites needed a dwelling place
for him, so that they would look to it and be reminded that he
was in theirmidst (Exodus, 327).
 tn The pronoun is singular.
 sn The expression “the pattern of the tabernacle” (תי ִנ ְב ַ ּת
ן ָ ּכ ְשׁ ִ ּמ ַה, tavnit hammiskan) has been the source of much in-
quiry. The word rendered “pattern” is related to the verb “to
build”; it suggests a model. S. R. Driver notes that in ancient
literature there is the account of Gudea receiving in a dream
a completemodel of a temple he was to erect (Exodus, 267).
In this passage Moses is being shown something on the
mountain that should be the pattern of the earthly sanctuary.
Themost plausible explanation of what he was shown comes
from a correlation with comments in the Letter to the He-
brews and the book of Revelation, which describe the heav-
enly sanctuary as the true sanctuary, and the earthly as the
copy or shadow. One could say thatMoses was allowed to see
what John saw on the island of Patmos, a vision of the heav-
enly sanctuary. That still might not explain what it was, but
it would mean he saw a revelation of the true tent, and that
would imply that he learned of the spiritual and eternal signifi-
cance of all of it. The fact that Israel’s sanctuary resembled
those of other cultures does not nullify this act of revelation;
rather, it raises the question of where the other nations got
their ideas if it was not made known early in human history.
One can conclude that in the beginning therewasmuchmore
revealed to the parents in the garden than Scripture tells
about (Cain and Abel did know how tomake sacrifices before
Leviticus legislated it). Likewise, one cannot but guess at the
influence of the fallen Satan and his angels in the world of
pagan religion. Whatever the source, at Sinai God shows the
true, and instructs that it all be done without the pagan cor-
ruptions and additions. U. Cassuto notes that the existence of
these ancient parallels shows that the section on the taber-
nacle need not be dated in the second temple period, but fits
the earlier period well (Exodus, 324).
 tn The pronoun is plural.
 sn Among the many helpful studies on the tabernacle, in-
clude S.M. Fish, “And They Shall BuildMe a Sanctuary,” Gratz
College of Jewish Studies 2 (1973): 43-59; I. Hart, “Preaching
on the Account of the Tabernacle,” EvQ 54 (1982): 111-16;
D. Skinner, “Some Major Themes of Exodus,” Mid-America
Theological Journal 1 (1977): 31-42; S.McEvenue, “The Style
of Building Instructions,” Sem 4 (1974): 1-9; M. Ben-Uri, “The
Mosaic Building Code,” Creation Research Society Quarterly
19 (1982): 36-39.
The Ark of the Covenant
5:10 “They are to make an ark of acacia
wood – its length is to be three feet nine inches,
its width two feet three inches, and its height two
feet three inches. 5:11You are to overlay0 itwith
pure gold – both inside and outside youmust over-
lay it, and you are to make a surrounding bor-
der of gold over it. 5:1You are to cast four gold
rings for it and put them on its four feet, with two
rings on one side and two rings on the other side.
5:13 You are tomake poles of acacia wood, over-
lay them with gold, 5:14 and put the poles into the
rings at the sides of the ark in order to carry the
ark with them. 5:15 The poles must remain in the
rings of the ark; they must not be removed from
it. 5:16You are to put into the ark the testimony
that I will give to you.
 sn This section begins with the ark, the most sacred and
important object of Israel’s worship. Verses 10-15 provide the
instructions for it, v. 16 has the placement of the Law in it, vv.
17-21 cover themercy lid, and v. 22 themeeting above it. The
point of this item in the tabernacle is to underscore the fo-
cus: the covenant people must always have God’s holy stan-
dard before them as they draw near to worship. A study of this
would focus on God’s nature (he is a God of order, precision,
and perfection), on the usefulness of this item for worship,
and on the typology intended.
 tn The word “ark” has long been used by English trans-
lations to render ן ֹור ָא (’aron), the word used for the wooden
“box,” or “chest,” made by Noah in which to escape the flood
and by the Israelites to furnish the tabernacle.
 tn The size is two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half
wide, and a cubit and a half high. The size in feet and inches
is estimated on the assumption that the cubit is 18 inches
(see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 267).
0 tn The verbs throughout here are perfect tenses with the
vav (ו) consecutives. They are equal to the imperfect tense of
instruction and/or injunction.
 tn Here the verb is an imperfect tense; for the perfect se-
quence to work the verb would have to be at the front of the
 tn The word ר ֵז (zer) is used only in Exodus and seems to
describe something on the order of a crownmolding, an orna-
mental border running at the top of the chest on all four sides.
There is no indication of its appearance or function.
 sn The “testimony” is the Decalogue (Exod 24:12; 31:18;
Deut 4:13; 9:9; 1 Kgs 8:9); the word identifies it as the wit-
ness or affirmation of God’s commandments belonging to his
covenant with Israel. It expressed God’s will and man’s duty.
In other cultures important documents were put at the feet of
the gods in the temples.
exodus 5:9 190
5:17 “You are to make an atonement lid of
pure gold; its length is to be three feet nine inches,
and its width is to be two feet three inches. 5:18
You are tomake two cherubim of gold; you are to
make them of hammered metal on the two ends of
the atonement lid. 5:19Make one cherub on one
end and one cherub on the other end; from the
atonement lid you are to make the cherubim on
the two ends. 5:0The cherubim are to be spread-
ing theirwings upward, overshadowing the atone-
ment lid with their wings, and the cherubim are to
face each other, looking toward the atonement
lid. 5:1You are to put the atonement lid on top of
the ark, and in the ark you are to put the testimony
I am giving you. 5: I willmeet with you there,0
 tn The noun is ת ֶר ֹ ּפ ַ ּכ (kapporet), translated “atonement lid”
or “atonement plate.” The traditional translation “mercy-seat”
(so KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV) came from Tyndale in 1530 and
was also used by Luther in 1523. The noun is formed from
the word “to make atonement.” The item that the Israelites
shouldmakewould bemore than just a lid for the ark. Itwould
be the place where atonement was signified. The translation
of “covering” is probably incorrect, for it derives from a rare
use of the verb, if the same verb at all (the evidence shows
“cover” is from another rootwith the same letters as this). The
value of this place was that Yahweh sat enthroned above it,
and so the ark essentially was the “footstool.” Blood was ap-
plied to the lid of the box, for that was the place of atonement
(see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 269-270).
 tn After verbs ofmaking or producing, the accusative (like
“gold” here) may be used to express the material from which
something ismade (see GKC 371 §117.hh).
 tn The evidence suggests that the cherubim were com-
posite angelic creatures that always indicated the nearness
of God. So here images of them were to be crafted and put
on each end of the ark of the covenant to signify that they
were there. Ezekiel 1 describes four cherubim as each having
human faces, four wings, and parts of different animals for
their bodies. Traditions of them appear in the other cultures
as well. They serve to guard the holy places and to bear the
throne of God. Here they were to be beaten out as part of the
 tn The text now shifts to use an imperative with the vav (ו)
 tn The use of ה ֶז (zeh) repeated here expresses the recip-
rocal ideas of “the one” and “the other” (see R. J. Williams,
Hebrew Syntax, 26, §132).
 sn The angels were to form one piece with the lid and not
be separated. This could be translated “of one piece with” the
lid, but it is likely the angels were simply fastened to it per-
 tn The verb means “overshadowing, screening” in the
sense of guarding (see 1 Kgs 8:7; 1 Chr 28:18; see also the
account in Gen 3:24). The cherubim then signify two things
here: by their outstretched wings they form the throne of God
who sits above the ark (with the Law under his feet), and by
their overshadowing and guarding they signify this as the
place of atonement where people must find propitiation to
commune with God. Until then they are barred from his pres-
ence. See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 330-35.
 tn Heb “their faces aman to his brother.”
 tn Heb “the faces of the cherubimwill be” (“the cherubim”
wasmoved to the preceding clause for smoother English).
0 sn Here then is themain point of the ark of the covenant,
and themain point of all worship –meeting with God through
atonement. The textmakes it clear that here God wouldmeet
withMoses (“you” is singular) and then he would speak to the
people – he is themediator of the covenant. S. R. Driver (Exo-
dus, 272) makes the point that the verb here is not the word
that means “to meet by chance” (as in Exod 3:18), but “to
meet” by appointment for a purpose (י ִ ּת ְד ַע ֹונ ְו, vÿno’adti). The
parallel in the NT is Jesus Christ and his work. The theology
and from above the atonement lid, from between
the two cherubim that are over the ark of the tes-
timony, I will speak with you about all that I will
command you for the Israelites.
The Table for the Bread of the Presence
5:3 “You are tomake a tableof acaciawood;
its length is to be three feet, its width one foot six
inches, and its height two feet three inches. 5:4
You are tooverlay itwithpuregold, andyou are to
make a surrounding border of gold for it. 5:5You
are tomake a surrounding frame for it about three
inches broad, and you are to make a surrounding
border of gold for its frame. 5:6You are to make
four rings of gold for it and attach the rings at the
four corners where its four legs are. 5:7 The
rings are to be close to the frame to provide plac-
es for the poles to carry the table. 5:8You are to
make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them
with gold, so that the table may be carried with
is that the Law condemns people as guilty of sin, but the sac-
rifice of Christ makes atonement. So he is the “place of pro-
pitiation (Rom 3:25) who gains communion with the Father
for sinners. A major point that could be made from this sec-
tion is this: At the center of worshipmust be the atoning work
of Christ – a perpetual reminder of God’s righteous standard
(the testimony in the ark) and God’s gracious provision (the
atonement lid).
 tn The verb is placed here in the text: “and I will speak”;
it has beenmoved in this translation to be closer to the direct
object clause.
 sn The Table of the Bread of the Presence (Tyndale’s
translation, “Shewbread,” was used in KJV and influenced
ASV, NAB) was to be a standing acknowledgment that Yah-
weh was the giver of daily bread. It was called the “presence-
bread” because it was set out in his presence. The theology
of this is that God provides, and the practice of this is that the
peoplemust provide for constant thanks. So if the ark speaks
of communion through atonement, the table speaks of dedi-
catory gratitude.
 tn “Gold” is an adverbial accusative ofmaterial.
 sn There is some debate as to the meaning of ת ֶר ֶ ּג ְס ִמ
(misgeret). This does not seem to be a natural part of the ta-
ble and its legs. The drawing on the Arch of Titus shows two
cross-stays in the space between the legs, about halfway up.
It might have been nearer the top, but the drawing of the ta-
ble of presence-bread from the arch shows it half-way up. This
frame was then decorated with themolding as well.
 tn Heb “give.”
 tn Heb “which [are] to four of its feet.”
 tn Heb “houses”; NAB, NASB “holders.”
191 exodus 5:8
them. 5:9You are tomake its plates, its ladles,
its pitchers, and its bowls, to be used in pouring
out offerings; you are to make them of pure gold.
5:30 You are to set the Bread of the Presence on
the table before me continually.
The Lampstand
5:31 “You are to make a lampstand of
pure gold. The lampstand is to be made of ham-
mered metal; its base and its shaft, its cups, its
buds, and its blossoms are to be from the same
piece. 5:3 Six branches are to extend from the
sides of the lampstand,0 three branches of the
lampstand from one side of it and three branch-
es of the lampstand from the other side of it.
5:33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with
buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, and
three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds
and blossoms are to be on the next branch, and
the same for the six branches extending from
 tn The verb is a Niphal perfectwith vav consecutive, show-
ing here the intended result: “so that [the table] might be lift-
ed up [by them].” The noun “the table” is introduced by what
looks like the sign of the accusative, but here it serves to in-
troduce or emphasize the nominative (see GKC 365 §117.i).
 tn Or “a deep gold dish.” The four nouns in this list are
items associated with the table and its use.
 tn Or “cups” (NAB, TEV).
 tn The expression “for pouring out offerings” represents
Hebrew ן ֵה ָ ּב ְך ַ ּסֻי ר ֶשׁ ֲא (’asher yussakh bahen). This literally says,
“which it may be poured out with them,” or “with which [liba-
tions]may be poured out.”
 sn The name basically means that the bread is to be set
out in the presence of Yahweh. The custom of presenting
bread on a table as a thank offering is common in other cul-
tures as well. The bread here would be placed on the table as
a symbol of the divine provision for the twelve tribes – con-
tinually, because they were to express their thanksgiving con-
tinually. Priests could eat the bread after certain times. Fresh
bread would be put there regularly.
 sn Clearly the point here is to provide light in the tent for
access to God. He provided for his worshipers a light for the
way to God, but he also wanted them to provide oil for the
lamp to ensure that the light would not go out. Verses 31-36
describe the piece. It was essentially one central shaft, with
three branches on either side turned out and upward. The
stem and the branches were ornamented every so often with
gold that was formed into the shape of the calyx and corolla
of the almond flower. On top of the central shaft and the six
branches were the lamps.
 tn The word is ה ָר ֹנ ְמ (mÿnorah) – here in construct to
a following genitive of material. The main piece was one
lampstand, but there were seven lamps on the shaft and its
branches. See E. Goodenough, “The Menorah among the
Jews of the RomanWorld,” HUCA 23 (1950/51): 449-92.
 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 342-44) says that the description
“the cups, knobs and flowers” is explained in vv. 32-36 as
three decorations in the form of a cup, shaped like an almond
blossom, to be made on one branch. Every cup will have two
parts, (a) a knob, that is, the receptacle at the base of the
blossom, and (b) a flower, which is called the corolla, so that
each lamp rests on top of a flower.
 tn Heb “will be from/of it”; the referent (“the same piece”
of wrought metal) has been specified in the translation for
0 tn Heb “from the sides of it.”
 tn Heb “from the second side.”
 tn The text uses “one” again; “the one…the one” means
“the one…and the next” in the distributive sense.
 tn Heb “thus.”
the lampstand. 5:34On the lampstand there are to
be four cups shaped like almond flowerswith buds
and blossoms, 5:35with a bud under the first two
branches from it, and a bud under the next two
branches from it, and a bud under the third two
branches from it, according to the six branches
that extend from the lampstand. 5:36 Their buds
and their branches will be one piece, all of it one
hammered piece of pure gold.
5:37 “You are to make its seven lamps, and
then set its lamps up on it, so that it will give
light0 to the area in front of it. 5:38 Its trimmers
and its trays are to be of pure gold. 5:39About
seventy-five pounds of pure gold is to be used
for it and for all these utensils. 5:40Now be sure
to make them according to the pattern you were
shown on the mountain.
 tn For clarity the phrase “the first” has been supplied.
 tn For clarity the phrase “the next” has been supplied.
 tn For clarity the phrase “the third” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “will be from it.”
 tn The word for “lamps” is from the same root as the
lampstand, of course. The word is ת ֹור ֵנ (nerot). This probably
refers to the small saucer-like pottery lamps that are made
very simplywith the rim pinched over to form a place to lay the
wick. The bowl is then filled with olive oil as fuel.
 tn The translation “set up on” is from the Hebrew verb
“bring up.” The construction is impersonal, “and he will bring
up,” meaning “one will bring up.” It may mean that people
were to fix the lamps on to the shaft and the branches, rather
than cause the light to go up (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 277).
0 tn This is a Hiphil perfect with vav consecutive, from ר ֹוא
(’or, “light”), and in the causative, “to light, give light.”
 sn The first word refers to something like small tongs or
tweezers used to pull up and trim the wicks; the second word
refers to fire-pans or censers.
 tn “are to be” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “a talent.”
 tn The text has “he will make it” or “one will make it.”
With no expressed subject it is given a passive translation.
 tn The text uses two imperatives: “see and make.” This
can be interpreted as a verbal hendiadys, calling for Moses
and Israel to see to it that theymake these things correctly.
 tn The participle is passive, “caused to see,” or,
 sn Themessage of this section surely concerns access to
God. To expound this correctly, though, since it is an instruc-
tion section for building the lampstand, the message would
be: God requires that his people ensure that light will guide
the way of access to God. The breakdown for exposition could
be the instructions for preparation for light (one lamp, sever-
al branches), then instructions for the purpose and mainte-
nance of the lamps, and then the last verse telling the divine
source for the instructions. Naturally, the metaphorical value
of light will come up in the study, especially from the NT. So in
the NT there is the warning that if churches are unfaithful God
will remove their lampstand, theirministry (Rev 2-3).
exodus 5:9 19
The Tabernacle
6:1 “The tabernacle itself you are to make
with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue
and purple and scarlet; you are to make them
with cherubim that are the work of an artistic
designer. 6: The length of each curtain is to be
forty-two feet, and the width of each curtain is to
be six feet – the same size for each of the curtains.
6:3 Five curtains are to be joined, one to anoth-
er, and the other0 five curtains are to be joined,
one to another. 6:4You are to make loops of blue
material along the edge of the end curtain in one
set, and in the same way you are to make loops
in the outer edge of the end curtain in the second
set. 6:5 You are to make fifty loops on the one
curtain, and you are to make fifty loops on the end
curtainwhich is on the second set, so that the loops
are opposite one to another. 6:6You are tomake
fifty gold clasps and join the curtains togetherwith
the clasps, so that the tabernacle is a unit.
6:7 “You are to make curtains of goats’ hair
 sn This chapter is given over to the details of the struc-
ture itself, the curtains, coverings, boards and walls and veil.
The passage can be studied on one level for its function both
practically and symbolically for Israel’s worship. On another
level it can be studied for its typology, for the tabernacle and
many of its parts speak of Christ. For this one should see the
 tn The word order in Hebrew thrusts the direct object to
the front for particular emphasis. After the first couple of piec-
es of furniture are treated (chap. 25), attention turns to the
tabernacle itself.
 tn This is for the adverbial accusative explaining how the
dwelling place is to bemade.
 sn S. R. Driver suggests that the curtains were made with
threads dyed with these colors (Exodus, 280). Perhaps the
colored threads were used for embroidering the cherubim in
the curtains.
 tn The construction is difficult in this line because of the
word order. “Cherubim” is an adverbial accusative explaining
how they were to make the curtains. And ב ֵשׁ ֹח ה ׂ ֵש ֲע ַמ (ma’aseh
khoshev) means literally “work of a designer”; it is in apposi-
tion to “cherubim.” The Hebrew participle means “designer”
or “deviser” so that one could render this “of artistic designs
in weaving” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 280-81). B. Jacob says that
it refers to “artistic weavers” (Exodus, 789).
 tn Heb “one” (so KJV).
 tn Heb “twenty-eight cubits” long and “four cubits” wide.
 tn This is the active participle, not the passive. It would
normally be rendered “joining together.” The Bible uses the
active because it has the result of the sewing in mind, name-
ly, that every curtain accompanies another (U. Cassuto, Exo-
dus, 348).
 tn Heb “a woman to her sister,” this form of using nouns
to express “one to another” is selected because “curtains” is
a feminine noun (see GKC 448 §139.e).
0 tn The phrase “the other” has been supplied.
 tn Here “loops” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “a woman to her sister.”
 tn Heb “one”; KJV “it shall be one tabernacle”; NRSV
“that the tabernaclemay be one whole”; NLT “a single unit.”
 sn This chapter will show that there were two sets of
for a tent over the tabernacle; you are to make
eleven curtains. 6:8 The length of each curtain
is to be forty-five feet, and the width of each cur-
tain is to be six feet – the same size for the eleven
curtains. 6:9You are to join five curtains by them-
selves and six curtains by themselves. You are to
double over the sixth curtain at the front of the
tent. 6:10 You are to make fifty loops along the
edge of the end curtain in one set and fifty loops
along the edge of the curtain that joins the sec-
ond set. 6:11 You are to make fifty bronze clasps
and put the clasps into the loops and join the tent
together so that it is a unit. 6:1 Now the part
that remains of the curtains of the tent – the half
curtain that remains will hang over at the back
of the tabernacle.0 6:13 The foot and a half on
the one side and the foot and a half on the other
side of what remains in the length of the curtains
of the tent will hang over the sides of the taber-
nacle, on one side and the other side, to cover it.
6:14 “You are to make a covering for the
tent out of ram skins dyed red and over that a cov-
ering of fine leather.
curtains and two sets of coverings that went over the wood
building to make the tabernacle or dwelling place. The cur-
tains of fine linen described above could be seen only by the
priests from inside. Above that was the curtain of goats’ hair.
Then over that were the coverings, an inner covering of rams’
skins dyed red and an outer covering of hides of fine leather.
The movement is from the inside to the outside because it is
God’s dwelling place; the approach of the worshiper would be
the opposite. The pure linen represented the righteousness
of God, guarded by the embroidered cherubim; the curtain
of goats’ hair was a reminder of sin through the daily sin of-
fering of a goat; the covering of rams’ skins dyed red was a
reminder of the sacrifice and the priestly ministry set apart
by blood, and the outer covering marked the separation be-
tween God and the world. These are the interpretations set
forth by Kaiser; others vary, but not greatly (see W. C. Kaiser,
Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:459).
 sn This curtain will serve “for a tent over the tabernacle,”
as a dwelling place.
 tn Heb “you willmake them”
 tn Heb “one”
 sn The text seems to describe this part as being in front
of the tabernacle, hanging down to form a valence at the en-
trance (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 284).
 tn Heb “one”
0 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 353) cites b. Shabbat 98b which
says, “What did the tabernacle resemble? A woman walking
on the street with her train trailing behind her.” In the expres-
sion “the half of the curtain that remains,” the verb agrees in
gender with the genitive near it.
 tn Literally “cubit.”
 sn U. Cassuto states the following: “To the north and to
the south, since the tent curtainswere thirty cubits long, there
were ten cubits left over on each side; these covered the nine
cubits of the curtains of the tabernacle and also the bottom
cubit of the boards, which the tabernacle curtains did not suf-
fice to cover. It is to this that v. 13 refers” (Exodus, 353).
 sn Two outer coverings made of stronger materials will
be put over the tent and the curtain, the two inner layers.
 tn See the note on this phrase in Exod 25:5.
193 exodus 6:14
6:15 “You are to make the frames for the
tabernacle out of acacia wood as uprights.
6:16 Each frame is to be fifteen feet long, and
each frame is to be two feet three inches wide,
6:17 with two projections per frame parallel one
to another. You are to make all the frames of the
tabernacle in this way. 6:18 So you are to make
the frames for the tabernacle: twenty frames for
the south side, 6:19 and you are to make forty
silver bases to go under the twenty frames – two
bases under the first frame for its two projections,
and likewise two bases under the next frame for
its two projections; 6:0 and for the second side
of the tabernacle, the north side, twenty frames,
6:1 and their forty silver bases, two bases un-
der the first frame, and two bases under the next
frame. 6:And for the back of the tabernacle on
the west you will make six frames. 6:3You are
to make two frames for the corners0 of the taber-
nacle on the back. 6:4At the two corners they
must be doubled at the lower end and finished to-
gether at the top in one ring. So it will be for both.
6:5 So there are to be eight frames and their sil-
ver bases, sixteen bases, two bases under the first
frame, and two bases under the next frame.
6:6 “You are to make bars of acacia wood,
five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle,
6:7 and five bars for the frames on the second
side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames
on the back of the tabernacle on thewest. 6:8 The
middle bar in the center of the frames will reach
from end to end. 6:9 You are to overlay the
frames with gold and make their rings of gold
 tn There is debatewhether theword םי ִשׁ ָר ְ ּק ַה (haqqÿrashim)
means “boards” (KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB) or “frames” (NIV, NCV,
NRSV, TEV) or “planks” (see Ezek 27:6) or “beams,” given the
size of them. The literature on this includes M. Haran, “The
Priestly Image of the Tabernacle,” HUCA 36 (1965): 192; B.
A. Levine, “The Description of the Tabernacle Texts of the Pen-
tateuch,” JAOS 85 (1965): 307-18; J. Morgenstern, “The Ark,
the Ephod, and the Tent,” HUCA 17 (1942/43): 153-265; 18
(1943/44): 1-52.
 tn “Wood” is an adverbial accusative.
 tn The plural participle “standing” refers to how these
items will be situated; they will be vertical rather than horizon-
tal (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 354).
 tn Heb “the frame.”
 sn Heb “hands,” the reference is probably to projections
that served as stays or supports. Theymay have been tenons,
or pegs, projecting from the bottom of the frames to hold the
frames in their sockets (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 286).
 tn Or “being joined each to the other.”
 tn Heb “on the south side southward.”
 tn The clause is repeated to show the distributive sense; it
literally says, “and two bases under the one frame for its two
 tn Or “westward” (toward the sea).
0 sn The term rendered “corners” is “an architectural term
for some kind of special corner structure. Here it seems to
involve two extra supports, one at each corner of the western
wall” (N.M. Sarna, Exodus [JPSTC], 170).
 tn Heb “they will be for the two corners.” This is the last
clause of the verse,moved forward for clarity.
 sn These bars served as reinforcements to hold the up-
right frames together. The Hebrew term for these bars is also
used of crossbars on gates (Judg 16:3; Neh 3:3).
to provide places for the bars, and you are to over-
lay the bars with gold. 6:30 You are to set up the
tabernacle according to the plan that you were
shown on the mountain.
6:31 “You are to make a special curtain of
blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine twisted lin-
en; it is to be made with cherubim, the work of
an artistic designer. 6:3You are to hang it with
gold hooks on four posts of acaciawood overlaid
with gold, set in four silver bases. 6:33You are to
hang this curtain under the clasps and bring the ark
of the testimony in there behind the curtain. The
curtain will make a division for you between the
Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.0 6:34You
are to put the atonement lid on the ark of the testi-
mony in theMost Holy Place. 6:35 You are to put
the table outside the curtain and the lampstand on
the south side of the tabernacle, opposite the table,
and you are to place the table on the north side.
6:36 “You are to make a hanging for the en-
trance of the tent of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn
andfine twined linen, thework of an embroiderer.
6:37 You are to make for the hanging five posts
of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, and
their hooks will be gold, and you are to cast five
bronze bases for them.
 tn The noun is ט ָ ּפ ְשׁ ִמ (mishpat), often translated “judg-
ment” or “decision” in other contexts. In those settings itmay
reflect its basic idea of custom, which here would be reflected
with a rendering of “prescribed norm” or “plan.”
 tn Although translated “curtain” (traditionally “veil,” so
ASV, NAB, NASB) this is a different word from the one used
earlier of the tent curtains, so “special curtain” is used. The
word ת ֶכ ֹר ָפ (farokhet) seems to be connected with a verb that
means “to shut off” and was used with a shrine. This curtain
would form a barrier in the approach to God (see S. R. Driver,
Exodus, 289).
 tn The verb is the third masculine singular form, but no
subject is expressed. It could be translated “one willmake” or
as a passive. The verbmeans “tomake,” but probably has the
sense of embroidering both here and in v. 1.
 tn Heb “put it.”
 tn This clause simply says “and their hooks gold,” but is
taken as a circumstantial clause telling how the veil will be
 tn Heb “on four silver bases.”
 tn The traditional expression is “within the veil,” literally
“into the house (or area) of the (special) curtain.”
0 tn Or “the Holy of Holies.”
 sn This was another curtain, serving as a screen in the
entrance way. Since it was far away from the special curtain
screening the Most Holy Place, it was less elaborate. It was
not the work of themaster designer, but of the “embroiderer,”
and it did not have the cherubim on it.
 tn The word ם ֵק ֹר (roqem) refers to someone who made
cloth with colors. It is not certain, however, whether the col-
ors were woven into the fabric on the loom or applied with
a needle; so “embroiderer” should be understood as an ap-
proximation (cf. HALOT 1290-91 s.v. םקר).
 tn “will be” has been supplied.
 sn In all the details of this chapter the expositor should
pay attention to the overall message rather than engage in
speculation concerning the symbolism of the details. It is, af-
ter all, the divine instruction for the preparation of the dwell-
ing place for Yahweh. The point could be said this way: The
dwelling place of Yahweh must be prepared in accordance
with, and by the power of, his divine word. If God was to fel-
lowship with his people, then the center of worship had to be
made to his specifications, which were in harmony with his
exodus 6:15 194
The Altar
7:1 “You are to make the altar of acacia
wood, seven feet six inches long, and seven feet
six inches wide; the altar is to be square, and
its height is to be four feet six inches. 7: You
are to make its four horns on its four corners;
its horns will be part of it, and you are to over-
lay it with bronze. 7:3 You are to make its pots
for the ashes, its shovels, its tossing bowls, its
nature. Everything was functional for the approach to God
through the ritual by divine provisions. But everything also re-
flected the nature of God, the symmetry, the order, the pure
wood, the gold overlay, or (closer to God) the solid gold. And
the symbolism of the light, the table, the veil, the cherubim
– all of it was revelatory. All of it reflected the reality in heav-
en. Churches today do not retain the pattern and furnishings
of the old tabernacle. However, they would do well to learn
what God was requiring of Israel, so that their structures are
planned in accordance with the theology of worship and the
theology of access to God. Function is a big part, but symbol-
ism and revelation instruct the planning of everything to be
used. Christians live in the light of the fulfillment of Christ, and
so they know the realities that the old foreshadowed. While a
building is not necessary for worship (just as Israel worshiped
in places other than the sanctuary), it is practical, and if there
is going to be one, then the most should be made of it in the
teaching and worshiping of the assembly. This chapter, then,
provides an inspiration for believers on preparing a function-
al, symbolical, ordered place of worship that is in harmony
with the word of God. And there ismuch to be said formaking
it as beautiful and uplifting as is possible – as a gift of free-
will offering to God. Of course, themost important part of pre-
paring a place of worship is the preparing of the heart. Wor-
ship, to be acceptable to God, must be in Christ. He said that
when the temple was destroyed he would raise it up in three
days.While he referred to his own body, he also alluded to the
temple by the figure.When they put Jesus to death, they were
destroying the temple; at his resurrection he would indeed
begin a new form of worship. He is the tent, the curtain, the
atonement, that the sanctuary foreshadowed. And then, be-
lievers also (when they receive Christ) become the temple of
the Lord. So the NT will take the imagery and teaching of this
chapter in a number of useful ways that call for more study.
This does not, however, involve allegorization of the individual
tabernacle parts.
 tn The article on this word identifies this as the altar,
meaning themain high altar on which the sacrifices would be
 tn The dimensions are five cubits by five cubits by three
cubits high.
 tn Heb “four”; this refers to four sides. S. R. Driver says
this is an archaism that means there were four equal sides
(Exodus, 291).
 tn Heb “and three cubits its height.”
 sn The horns of the altar were indispensable – they were
the most sacred part. Blood was put on them; fugitives could
cling to them, and the priestswould grab the horns of the little
altar when making intercessory prayer. They signified power,
as horns on an animal did in the wild (and so the word was
used for kings as well). The hornsmay also represent the sac-
rificial animals killed on the altar.
 sn The text, as before, uses the prepositional phrase
“from it” or “part of it” to say that the horns will be part of the
altar – of the same piece as the altar. They were not to be
made separately and then attached, but made at the end of
the boards used to build the altar (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 363).
 sn Theword is literally “its fat,” but sometimes it describes
“fatty ashes” (TEV “the greasy ashes”). The fat would run
down and mix with the ashes, and this had to be collected
and removed.
 sn This was the larger bowl used in tossing the blood at
the side of the altar.
meat hooks, and its fire pans – you are to make
all its utensils of bronze. 7:4 You are to make a
grating0 for it, a network of bronze, and you are
to make on the network four bronze rings on its
four corners. 7:5You are to put it under the ledge
of the altar below, so that the network will come
halfway up the altar. 7:6You are to make poles
for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and you are to
overlay them with bronze. 7:7 The poles are to be
put into the rings so that the poles will be on two
sides of the altar when carrying it. 7:8 You are
to make the altar hollow, out of boards. Just as it
was shown you on the mountain, so they must
make it.
The Courtyard
7:9 “You are to make the courtyard of
the tabernacle. For the south side there are to
be hangings for the courtyard of fine twisted
 tn The text has “to all its vessels.” This is the lamed (ל)
of inclusion according to Gesenius, meaning “all its utensils”
(GKC 458 §143.e).
0 tn The noun ר ָ ּב ְכ ִמ (mikhbar) means “a grating”; it is re-
lated to the word thatmeans a “sieve.” This formed a vertical
support for the ledge, resting on the ground and supporting
its outer edge (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 292).
 tn The verb is the verb “to be,” here the perfect tense
with vav (ו) consecutive. It is “and it will be” or “that itmay be,”
or here “that itmay come” halfway up.
 tn Heb “to the half of the altar.”
 tn The verb is a Hophal perfect with vav consecutive:
א ָב ּוה ְו (vÿhuva’, “and it will be brought”). The particle ת ֶא (’et)
here introduces the subject of the passive verb (see a similar
use in 21:28, “and its flesh will not be eaten”).
 tn The construction is the infinitive construct with bet (ב)
preposition: “in carrying it.” Here the meaning must be that
the poles are not left in the rings, but only put into the rings
when they carried it.
 tn The verb is used impersonally; it reads “just as he
showed you.” This form then can be made a passive in the
 tn Heb “thus they will make.” Here too it could be given
a passive translation since the subject is not expressed. But
“they” would normally refer to the people who will be making
this and so can be retained in the translation.
sn Nothing is said about the top of the altar. Some commen-
tators suggest, in view of the previous instruction for making
an altar out of earth and stone, that when this one was to
be used it would be filled up with dirt clods and the animal
burnt on the top of that. If the animal was burnt inside it, the
wood would quickly burn. A number of recent scholars think
this was simply an imagined plan tomake a portable altar af-
ter the pattern of Solomon’s – but that is an unsatisfactory
suggestion. This construction must simply represent a porta-
ble frame for the altar in the courtyard, an improvement over
the field altar. The purpose and function of the altar are not
in question. Here worshipers would make their sacrifices to
God in order to find forgiveness and atonement, and in order
to celebrate in worship with him. No one could worship God
apart from this; no one could approach God apart from this.
So too the truths that this altar communicated form the basis
and center of all Christian worship. One could word an appli-
cable lesson this way: Believersmust ensure that the founda-
tion and center of their worship is the altar, i.e., the sacrificial
 tn Or “enclosure” (TEV).
 tn Heb “south side southward.”
 tn Or “curtains.”
195 exodus 7:9
linen, one hundred fifty feet long for one side,
7:10 with twenty posts and their twenty bronze
bases, with the hooks of the posts and their bands
of silver. 7:11 Likewise for its length on the north
side, there are to be hangings for one hundred fif-
ty feet, with twenty posts and their twenty bronze
bases, with silver hooks and bands on the posts.
7:1 The width of the court on the west side is to
be seventy-five feet with hangings, with their ten
posts and their ten bases. 7:13 The width of the
court on the east side, toward the sunrise, is to be
seventy-five feet. 7:14 The hangings on one side
of the gate are to be twenty-two and a half feet
long, with their three posts and their three bases.
7:15On the second side there are to be hangings
twenty-two and a half feet long, with their three
posts and their three bases. 7:16 For the gate of
the courtyard there is to be a curtain of thirty feet,
of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine twined
linen, the work of an embroiderer, with four posts
and their four bases. 7:17All the posts around the
courtyard are to have silver bands;0 their hooks
are to be silver, and their bases bronze. 7:18 The
length of the courtyard is to be one hundred fifty
feet and the width seventy-five feet, and the
height of the fine twisted linen hangings is to
be seven and a half feet, with their bronze bases.
7:19All the utensils of the tabernacle used in
all its service, all its tent pegs, and all the tent pegs
of the courtyard are to be made of bronze.
 sn The entire courtyard of 150 feet by 75 feet was to be
enclosed by a curtain wall held up with posts in bases. All
these hangings were kept in place by a cord and tent pegs.
 tn Heb “and.”
 tn Heb “and thus.”
 tn Here the phrase “there will be” has been supplied.
 sn These bands have been thought by some to refer to
connecting rods joining the tops of the posts. But it is more
likely that they are bands or bind rings surrounding the posts
at the base of the capitals (see 38:17).
 tn Theword literallymeans “shoulder.” The nextwords, “of
the gate,” have been supplied here and in v. 15. The east end
would contain the courtyard’s entry with a wall of curtains on
each side of the entry (see v. 16).
 tn Here “will be” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “shoulder.”
 tn Here the phrase “there will be” has been supplied.
0 tn The text uses the passive participle here: they are to
“be filleted with silver” or “bound round” with silver.
 tn Here the phrase “are to be” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “a hundred cubits.”
 tn Heb “fifty.” The text has “and the width fifty [cubits]
with fifty.” Thismeans that it is fifty cubitswide on thewestern
end and fifty cubits wide on the eastern end.
 tn Here “hangings” has been supplied.
 tn Here the phrase “is to be” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “to all”; for use of the preposition lamed (ל) to
show inclusion (all belonging to) see GKC 458 §143.e.
 tn Here “used” has been supplied.
 sn The tabernacle is an important aspect of OT theolo-
gy. The writer’s pattern so far has been: ark, table, lamp, and
then their container (the tabernacle); then the altar and its
container (the courtyard). The courtyard is the place of wor-
ship where the people could gather – they entered God’s
courts. Though the courtyard may not seem of much interest
to current readers, it did interest the Israelites. Here the sac-
rifices weremade, the choirs sang, the believers offered their
praises, they had their sins forgiven, they came to pray, they
Offering the Oil
7:0 “You are to command the Israelites that
they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for
the light, so that the lamps0will burn regularly.
7:1 In the tent of meeting outside the curtain
that is before the testimony,Aaron and his sons are
to arrange it from evening to morning before the
Lord. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the
Israelites for generations to come.
The Clothing of the Priests
8:1 “And you, bring near to you your
brother Aaron and his sons with him from
among the Israelites, so that they may minis-
ter as my priests – Aaron, Nadab and Abihu,
appeared on the holy days, and they heard from God. It was
sacred becauseGodmet them there; they left the “world” (fig-
uratively speaking) and came into the very presence of God.
 tn The form is the imperfect tense with the vav showing
a sequence with the first verb: “you will command…that they
take.” The verb “take, receive” is used here as before for re-
ceiving an offering and bringing it to the sanctuary.
0 tn Heb “lamp,” whichmust be a collective singular here.
 tn The verb is unusual; it is the Hiphil infinitive construct
of ה ָל ָע (’alah), with the sense here of “to set up” to burn, or “to
fix on” as in Exod 25:37, or “to kindle” (U. Cassuto, Exodus,
 sn The word can mean “continually,” but in this context,
as well as in the passages on the sacrifices, “regularly” is bet-
ter, since eachmorning things were cleaned and restored.
 tn The LXX has mistakenly rendered this name “the tent
of the testimony.”
 sn The lamps were to be removed in themorning so that
the wicks could be trimmed and the oil replenished (30:7)
and then lit every evening to burn through the night.
 sn This is the first of several sections of priestly duties.
The point is a simple one here: those who lead the worship
use the offerings of the people to ensure that access to God
is illumined regularly. The NT will make much of the symbol-
ism of light.
 sn Some modern scholars find this and the next chapter
too elaborate for the wilderness experience. To most of them
this reflects the later Zadokite priesthood of the writer’s (P’s)
day that was referred toMosaic legislation for authentication.
But there is no compelling reason why this should be late; it is
put late because it is assumed to be P, and that is assumed to
be late. But both assumptions are unwarranted. This lengthy
chapter could be divided this way: instructions for preparing
the garments (1-5), details of the apparel (6-39), and a warn-
ing against deviating from these (40-43). The subject matter
of the first part is that God requires that his chosenministers
reflect his holy nature; the point of the second part is that God
requires hisministers to be prepared to fulfill the tasks of the
ministry, and the subject matter of the third part is that God
warns all his ministers to safeguard the holiness of their ser-
 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperative of the root ב ַר ָק (qarav,
“to draw near”). In the present stem the word has religious
significance, namely, to present something to God, like an of-
 tn This entire clause is a translation of the Hebrew ־ ֹונ ֲה ַכ ְל
י ִל (lÿkhahano-li, “that he might be a priest to me”), but the
form is unusual. The word means “to be a priest” or “to act
as a priest.” The etymology of the word for priest, ן ֵה ֹ ּכ (kohen),
is uncertain.
exodus 7:10 196
Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. 8: You
must make holy garments for your brother
Aaron, for glory and for beauty. 8:3 You are
to speak to all who are specially skilled, whom
I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, so that
they may make Aaron’s garments to set him
apart to minister as my priest. 8:4 Now these
are the garments that they are to make: a breast-
piece, an ephod, a robe, a fitted0 tunic, a tur-
 sn The genitive “holiness” is the attribute for “garments”
– “garments of holiness.” The point of the word “holy” is that
these garments would be distinctive from ordinary garments,
for they set Aaron apart to sanctuary service andministry.
 tn The expression is ת ֶרא ְפ ִת ְל ּו ד ֹוב ָכ ְל (lÿkhavod ulÿtif’aret,
“for glory and for beauty”). W. C. Kaiser (“Exodus,” EBC
2:465), quoting theNIV’s “to give him dignity and honor,” says
that these clothes were to exalt the office of the high priest as
well as beautify the worship of God (which explains more of
what the text has than the NIV rendering). Themeaning of the
word “glory” hasmuch to do with the importance of the office,
to be sure, but in Exodus the word has been used also for
the brilliance of the presence of Yahweh, and so the magnifi-
cence of these garments might indeed strike the worshiper
with the sense of the exaltation of the service.
 tn Heb “And you, you will speak to.”
 tnHeb “wiseofheart.” Theword for “wise” (י ֵמ ְכ ַח,khakhme,
the plural construct form) is from the word group that is usu-
ally translated “wisdom, wise, be wise,” but it has as its basic
meaning “skill” or “skillful.” This is the way it is used in 31:3,
6 and 35:10 etc. God gave these people “wisdom” so that
they would know how to make these things. The “heart” for
the Hebrews is the locus of understanding, the mind and the
will. To be “wise of heart” or “wise in heart” means that they
had the understanding to do skillful work, they were talented
artisans and artists.
 sn There is no necessity to take this as a reference to the
Holy Spirit who produces wisdom in these people, although
that is not totally impossible. A number of English versions
(e.g., NAB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT) do not even trans-
late the word “spirit.” It probably refers to their attitude and
ability. U. Cassuto has “to all the artisans skilled in the mak-
ing of stately robes, in the heart [i.e., mind] of each of whom
I have implanted sagacity in his craft so that he may do his
craft successfully” (Exodus, 371).
 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecu-
tive; after the instruction to speak to the wise, this verb, equal
to an imperfect, will have the force of purpose.
 tn Or “to sanctify him” (ASV) or “to consecrate him” (KJV,
NASB, NRSV). It is the garments that will set Aaron apart, or
sanctify him, not the workers. The expression could be taken
to mean “for his consecration” (NIV) since the investiture is
part of his being set apart for service.
 sn The breastpiece seems to have been a pouch of sorts
or to have had a pocket, since it was folded in some way
(28:16; 39:9) and contained the Urim and Thummim (Exod
28:30; Lev 8:8).
 sn The word “ephod” is taken over directly from Hebrew,
because no one knows how to translate it, nor is there agree-
ment about its design. It refers here to a garment worn by the
priests, but the word can also refer to some kind of image for
a god (Judg 8:27).
0 tn The word ץ ֵ ּב ְשׁ ָ ּת (tashbets), which describes the tunic
and which appears only in this verse, is related to a verb (also
rare) of the same root in 28:39 that describesmaking the tu-
nic. Their meaning is uncertain (see the extended discussion
in C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:473-75). A related noun describes
gold fasteners and the “settings,” or “mountings,” for pre-
cious stones (28:11, 13, 14, 20, 25; 36:18; 39:6, 13, 16, 18;
cf. Ps 45:14). The word “fitted” in 28:4 reflects the possibility
that “the tunic is to be shaped by sewing, … so that it will fit
tightly around the body” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:475).
ban, and a sash. They are to make holy garments
for your brother Aaron and for his sons, that they
may minister as my priests. 8:5 The artisans are
to use the gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine
8:6 “They are to make the ephod of gold,
blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twisted linen, the
work of an artistic designer. 8:7 It is to have two
shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it
can be joined together. 8:8 The artistically wo-
ven waistband of the ephod that is on it is to be
like it, of one piece with the ephod, of gold, blue,
purple, scarlet, and fine twisted linen.
8:9 “You are to take two onyx stones and en-
grave on them the names of the sons of Israel,
8:10 six of their names on one stone, and the six
remaining names on the second stone, according to
the order of their birth. 8:11 You are to engrave
the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel
with the work of an engraver in stone, like the en-
gravings of a seal; you are to have them set0 in
gold filigree settings. 8:1You are to put the two
stones on the shoulders of the ephod, stones ofme-
morial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron will bear
theirnamesbefore theLordonhis twoshoulders for
 tn Heb “and they.” The word “artisans” is supplied as the
referent of the pronoun, a connection that is clearer in He-
brew than in English.
 tn Heb “receive” or “take.”
 tn Here the Pual perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive pro-
vides the purpose clause (equal to a final imperfect); the form
follows the use of the active participle, “attached” or more
Heb “joining.”
 tn This is the rendering of the word ב ֶשׁ ֵח (kheshev), cog-
nate to the word translated “designer” in v. 6. Since the en-
tire ephod was of the same material, and this was of the
same piece, it is unclear why this is singled out as “artistically
woven.” Perhaps the word is from another root that just de-
scribes the item as a “band.” Whatever the connection, this
band was to be of the same material, and the same piece,
as the ephod, but perhaps a different pattern (S. R. Driver,
Exodus, 301). It is this sash that attaches the ephod to the
priest’s body, that is, at the upper border of the ephod and
clasped together at the back.
 tn Heb “from it” but meaning “of one [the same] piece”;
the phrase “the ephod” has been supplied.
 tn Although this is normally translated “Israelites,” here
a more literal translation is clearer because it refers to the
names of the twelve tribes – the actual sons of Israel.
 tn This is in apposition to the direct object of the verb
“engrave.” It further defines how the names were to be en-
graved – six on one and the other six on the other.
 tn Heb “according to their begettings” (themajor word in
the book of Genesis).What ismeant is that the names would
be listed in the order of their ages.
 sn Expert stone or gem engravers were used to engrave
designs and names in identification seals of various sizes. It
was work that skilled artisans did.
0 tn Or “you willmount them” (NRSV similar).
 tn Or “rosettes,” shield-like frames for the stones. The
Hebrew wordmeans “to plait, checker.”
197 exodus 8:1
a memorial. 8:13 You are to make filigree set-
tings of gold 8:14 and two braided chains of pure
gold, like a cord, and attach the chains to the set-
8:15 “You are to make a breastpiece for use
in making decisions, the work of an artistic de-
signer; you are to make it in the same fashion
as the ephod; you are to make it of gold, blue,
purple, scarlet, and fine twisted linen. 8:16 It is
to be square when doubled, nine inches long
and nine inches wide. 8:17 You are to set in it
a setting for stones, four rows of stones, a row
with a ruby, a topaz, and a beryl – the first row;
8:18 and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire,
and an emerald; 8:19 and the third row, a jacinth,
an agate, and an amethyst; 8:0 and the fourth row,
a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. They are to be
enclosed in gold in their filigree settings. 8:1The
stones are to be for the names of the sons of Israel,
twelve, according to the number of their names.
Each name according to the twelve tribes is to be
like the engravings of a seal.
8: “You are to make for the breastpiece
braided chains like cords of pure gold, 8:3 and
you are to make for the breastpiece two gold
rings and attach the two rings to the upper0 two
ends of the breastpiece. 8:4 You are to attach
the two gold chains to the two rings at the ends
of the breastpiece; 8:5 the other two ends of
the two chains you will attach to the two set-
tings and then attach them to the shoulder piec-
es of the ephod at the front of it. 8:6 You are
to make two rings of gold and put them on the
other two ends of the breastpiece, on its edge
 sn This was to be a perpetual reminder that the priest
ministers on behalf of the twelve tribes of Israel. Their names
would always be borne by the priests.
 tn Heb “a breastpiece of decision” (ט ָ ּפ ְשׁ ִמ ן ֶשׁ ֹח, khoshen
mishpat; so NAB). The first word, rendered “breastpiece,” is of
uncertain etymology. This item was made of material similar
to the ephod. It had four rows of three gems on it, bearing the
names of the tribes. In it were the urim and thummim. J. P.
Hyatt refers to a similar object found in the Egyptian reliefs,
including even the twisted gold chains used to hang it from
the priest (Exodus [NCBC], 282).
 tn Heb “four.”
 tn “when” is added for clarification (U. Cassuto, Exodus,
 tn The word ת ֶר ֶז (zeret) is half a cubit; it is often translated
 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 375-76) points out that these are
the same precious stonesmentioned in Ezek 28:13 thatwere
to be found in Eden, the garden of God. So the priest, when
making atonement, was to wear the precious gems that were
there and symbolized the garden of Eden whenman was free
from sin.
 tn For clarity the words “the number of” have been sup-
 tn The phrase translated “the engravings of a seal” is an
adverbial accusative ofmanner here.
 tn Heb “give, put.”
0 tn Here “upper” has been supplied.
 tn Here “the other” has been supplied.
 tn Here “them” has been supplied.
 tn Here “other” has been supplied.
that is on the inner side of the ephod. 8:7You are
to make two more gold rings and attach them to
the bottom of the two shoulder pieces on the front
of the ephod, close to the juncture above thewaist-
band of the ephod. 8:8 They are to tie the breast-
piece by its rings to the rings of the ephod by blue
cord, so that it may be above the waistband of the
ephod, and so that the breastpiecewill not be loose
from the ephod. 8:9 Aaron will bear the names
of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of decision
over his heart when he goes into the holy place,
for a memorial before the Lord continually.
8:30 “You are to put the Urim and the Thum-
mim into the breastpiece of decision; and they
are to be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in be-
fore the Lord. Aaron is to bear the decisions of
the Israelites over his heart before the Lord con-
8:31 “You are to make the robe of the
ephod completely blue. 8:3 There is to be an
opening in its top0 in the center of it, with
an edge all around the opening, the work of a
 tn Here “more” has been supplied.
 sn So Aaron will have the names of the tribes on his
shoulders (v. 12) which bear the weight and symbol of office
(see Isa 9:6; 22:22), and over his heart (implying that they
have a constant place in his thoughts [Deut 6:6]). Thus he
was to enter the presence of God as the nation’s representa-
tive, ever mindful of the nation’s interests, and ever bringing
the remembrance of it before God (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 306).
 sn The Urim and the Thummim were two objects intend-
ed for determining the divine will. There is no clear evidence
of their size or shape or thematerial ofwhich theyweremade,
but they seem to have been familiar items to Moses and the
people. The best example of their use comes from 1 Sam
14:36-42. Some have suggested from the etymologies that
they were light and dark objects respectively, perhaps stones
or sticks or some other object. They seem to have fallen out
of use after the Davidic period when the prophetic oracles be-
came popular. It may be that the title “breastpiece of judg-
ment” indicates that these objects were used formaking “de-
cisions” (J. P. Hyatt, Exodus [NCBC], 283-84). U. Cassuto has
themost thorough treatment of the subject (Exodus, 378-82);
he lists several very clear rules for their uses gathered from
their instances in the Bible, including that they were a form of
sacred lot, that priests or leaders of the people only could use
them, and that they were used for discovering the divine will
in areas that were beyond human knowledge.
 tn Or “judgment” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV). The term is
ט ָ ּפ ְשׁ ִמ (mishpat), the sameword thatdescribes thebreastpiece
that held the two objects. Here it is translated “decisions”
since the Urim and Thummim contained in the breastpiece
represented themeans by which the Lordmade decisions for
the Israelites. The high priest bore the responsibility of dis-
cerning the divine will onmatters of national importance.
 tn The לי ִע ְמ (mÿ’il), according to S. R. Driver (Exodus,
307), is a long robe worn over the ephod, perhaps open down
the front, with sleeves. It is made of finer material than ordi-
nary cloaks because it was to be worn by people in positions
of rank.
 tn Heb “mouth” or “opening” (י ִ ּפ, pi; in construct).
0 tn The “mouth of its head” probably means its neck; it
may be rendered “the opening for the head,” except the pro-
nominal suffix would have to refer to Aaron, and that is not
immediately within the context.
exodus 8:13 198
weaver, like the opening of a collar, so that it can-
not be torn. 8:33You are to make pomegranates
of blue, purple, and scarlet all around its hem and
bells of gold between them all around. 8:34 The
pattern is to be a gold bell and a pomegranate, a
gold bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem
of the robe. 8:35 The robe is to be onAaron as he
ministers, and his sound will be heard when he
enters the Holy Place before the Lord and when
he leaves, so that he does not die.
8:36 “You are to make a plate0 of pure gold
and engrave on it the way a seal is engraved:
 tn Or “woven work” (KJV, ASV, NASB), that is, “the work
of a weaver.” The expression suggests that the weaving was
from the fabric edges itself and not something woven and
then added to the robe. It was obviously intended to keep the
opening from fraying.
 tn The expression א ָר ְח ַת י ִפ ְ ּכ (kÿfi takhra’) is difficult. It was
early rendered “like the opening of a coat of mail.” It occurs
only here and in the parallel 39:23. Tg. Onq. has “coat of
mail.” S. R. Driver suggests “a linen corselet,” after the Greek
(Exodus, 308). See J. Cohen, “A Samaritan Authentication of
the Rabbinic Interpretation of kephi tahra’,” VT 24 (1974):
 tn The verb is the Niphal imperfect, here given the nu-
ance of potential imperfect. Here it serves in a final clause
(purpose/result), introduced only by the negative (see GKC
503-4 §165.a).
 sn This must mean round balls of yarn that looked like
pomegranates. The fruit was very common in the land, but
there is no indication of the reason for its choice here. Pome-
granates are found in decorative schemes in Ugarit, prob-
ably as signs of fertility. It may be that here they represent
the blessing of God on Israel in the land. The bells that are
between them possibly have the intent of drawing God’s at-
tention as the priestmoves and the bells jingle (anthropomor-
phic, to be sure), or that the peoplewould know that the priest
was still alive and moving inside. Some have suggested that
the pomegranatemay have recalled the forbidden fruit eaten
in the garden (the gems already have referred to the garden),
the reason for the priest entering for atonement, and the bells
would divert the eye (of God) to remind him of the need. This
is possible but far from supportable, since nothing is said of
the reason, nor is the fruit in the garden identified.
 tn The text repeats the idea: “you will make for its hem…
all around its hem.”
 tn The words “the pattern is to be” are not in the Hebrew
text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity and for sty-
listic reasons.
 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the robe) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 tn The form is a Piel infinitive construct with the lamed (ל)
preposition: “to minister” or “to serve.” It may be taken epex-
egetically here, “while serving,” although S. R. Driver takes it
as a purpose, “in order that he may minister” (Exodus, 308).
The point then would be that he dare not enter into the Holy
Place without wearing it.
 sn God would hear the bells and be reminded that this
priest was in his presence representing the nation and that
the priest had followed the rules of the sanctuary by wearing
the appropriate robes with their attachments.
0 tn The word ץי ִ ּצ (tsits) seems to mean “a shining thing”
and so here a plate of metal. It originally meant “flower,” but
they could not write on a flower. So it must have the sense
of something worn openly, visible, and shining. The Rabbinic
tradition says it was two fingers wide and stretched from ear
to ear, but this is an attempt to give details that the Law does
not give (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 818).
 tn Heb “the engravings of a seal”; this phrase is an ad-
verbial accusative ofmanner.
“Holiness to the Lord.” 8:37 You are to attach
to it a blue cord so that it will be on the turban; it
is to be on the front of the turban. 8:38 It will be
onAaron’s forehead, andAaron will bear the iniq-
uity of the holy things, which the Israelites are to
sanctify by all their holy gifts; it will always be
on his forehead, for their acceptance before the
Lord. 8:39 You are to weave the tunic of fine
linen and make the turban of fine linen, and make
the sash the work of an embroiderer.
8:40 “For Aaron’s sons you are to make tu-
nics, sashes, and headbands for glory and for
8:41 “You are to clothe them – your brother
Aaron and his sons with him – and anoint them0
 sn The engraving was a perpetual reminder of the holi-
ness that was due the Lord (Heb “Yahweh”), that all the cloth-
ing, the furnishings, and the activities were to come under
that description. This corresponded to the symbolism for the
whole nation of binding the law between the eyes. It was to be
a perpetual reminder of commitment.
 tn The verb is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecu-
tive; it follows the same at the beginning of the verse. Since
the first verb is equal to the imperfect of instruction, this could
be as well, but it is more likely to be subordinated to express
the purpose of the former.
 tn Heb “it will be,” an instruction imperfect.
 tn The construction “the iniquity of the holy things” is
difficult. “Holy things” is explained in the passage by all the
gifts the people bring and consecrate to Yahweh. But there
will inevitably be iniquity involved. U. Cassuto explains that
Aaron “will atone for all the transgressions committed in con-
nection with the order of the service, the purity of the conse-
crated things, or the use of the holy gifts, for the declaration
engraved on the plate will prove that everything was intended
to be holy to the Lord, and if aught was done irregularly, the
intention at least was good” (Exodus, 385).
 tn The clause reads: “according to/by all the gifts of their
holiness.” The genitive is an attributive genitive, the suffix
on it referring to the whole bound construction – “their holy
gifts.” The idea of the line is that the people will consecrate as
holy things gifts they bring to the sanctuary.
 tn This clause is the infinitive construct with the lamed
preposition, followed by the prepositional phrase: “for accep-
tance for them.” This infinitive provides the purpose or result
of the act of wearing the dedicatory frontlet – that they will be
 tn It is difficult to know how to translate ָ ּת ְ ּצ ַ ּב ִשׁ ְו
(vÿshibbatsta); it is a Piel perfect with the vav (ו) consecu-
tive, and so equal to the imperfect of instruction. Some have
thought that this verb describes a type of weaving and that
the root may indicate that the cloth had something of a pat-
tern to it bymeans of alternate weaving of the threads. It was
the work of a weaver (39:27) and not so detailed as certain
other fabrics (26:1), but it wasmore than plain weaving (S. R.
Driver, Exodus, 310). Here, however, it may be that the fabric
is assumed to be in existence and that the action has to do
with sewing (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:475, 517).
 sn This refers to a band of linen wrapped around the
head, forming something like a brimless convex cap, resem-
bling something like a half egg. It refers to the headgear of
ordinary priests only (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 310-11).
0 sn The instructions in this verse anticipate chap. 29, as
well as the ordination ceremony described in Lev 8 and 9. The
anointing of Aaron is specifically required in the Law, for he
is to be the High Priest. The expression “ordain them” might
also be translated as “install them” or “consecrate them”; it
literally reads “and fill their hands,” an expression for the con-
secration offering for priesthood in Lev 8:33. The final instruc-
tion to sanctify them will involve the ritual of the atoning sacri-
fices tomake the priests acceptable in the sanctuary.
199 exodus 8:41
and ordain them and set them apart as holy, so
that they may minister as my priests. 8:4 Make
for them linen undergarments to cover their na-
ked bodies; they must cover from the waist to
the thighs. 8:43 These must be on Aaron and his
sons when they enter to the tent of meeting, or
when they approach the altar to minister in the
Holy Place, so that they bear no iniquity and die.
It is to be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his
descendants after him.
 tn Heb “fill their hand.” As a result of this installation cer-
emony they will be officially designated for the work. It seems
likely that the concept derives from the notion of putting the
priestly responsibilities under their control (i.e., “filling their
hands” with work). See note on the phrase “ordained seven
days” in Lev 8:33.
 tn Traditionally “sanctify them” (KJV, ASV).
 tn Heb “naked flesh” (so NAB, NRSV); KJV “nakedness.”
 tn Heb “be.”
 tn The construction for this temporal clause is the infini-
tive construct with the temporal preposition bet (ב) and the
suffixed subjective genitive.
 tn This construction is also the temporal clause with the
infinitive construct and the temporal preposition bet (ב) and
the suffixed subjective genitive.
 tn The text has ּות ֵמ ָו ן ֹו ָע ּוא ׂ ְש ִי־ ֹאל ְו (vÿlo’-yis’u ’avon vametu).
The imperfect tense here introduces a final clause, yielding
a purpose or result translation (“in order that” or “so that”).
The last verb is the perfect tense with the vav consecutive,
and so it too is equal to a final imperfect – but it would show
the result of bearing the iniquity. The idea is that if they ap-
proached the holy things with a lack ofmodesty, perhaps like
the pagans who have nakedness and sexuality as part of the
religious ritual, theywould pollute the holy things, and itwould
be reckoned to them for iniquity and they would die.
 tn Heb “seed.”
 sn So the priests were to make intercession for the peo-
ple, give decisions from God’s revealed will, enter his pres-
ence in purity, and represent holiness to Yahweh. The clothing
of the priests provided for these functions, but in a way that
brought honor and dignity. A priest was, therefore, to serve in
purity, holiness, and fear (Malachi). There ismuch that can be
derived from this chapter to form principles of spiritual lead-
ership, but the overall point can be worded this way: Those
whom God selects to minister to the congregation through
intercessory prayer, divine counsel, and sacrificial worship,
must always represent the holiness of Yahweh in their activi-
ties and demeanor.
The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons
9:10 “Now this is what you are to do for
them to consecrate them so that they may minister
as my priests. Take a young bull and two rams
without blemish; 9: and bread made without
yeast, and perforated cakes without yeast mixed
with oil, andwaferswithout yeast spreadwith oil
– you are to make them using fine wheat flour.
9:3 You are to put them in one basket and pres-
ent them in the basket, along with the bull and
the two rams.
9:4 “You are to present Aaron and his sons
at the entrance of the tent of meeting. You are to
wash0 them with water 9:5 and take the gar-
ments and clothe Aaron with the tunic, the robe
0 sn Chap. 29 is a rather long, involved discussion of the
consecration of Aaron the priest. It is similar to the ordination
service in Lev 8. In fact, the execution of what is instructed
here is narrated there. But these instructionsmust have been
formulated after or in conjunction with Lev 1-7, for they pre-
suppose a knowledge of the sacrifices. The bulk of the chap-
ter is the consecration of the priests: 1-35. It has the prepa-
ration (1-3), washing (4), investiture and anointing (5-9), sin
offering (10-14), burnt offering (15-18), installation peace
offering (19-26, 31-34), other offerings’ rulings (27-30), and
the duration of the ritual (35). Then there is the consecra-
tion of the altar (36-37), and the oblations (38-46). There are
many possibilities for the study and exposition of this mate-
rial. The whole chapter is the consecration of tabernacle, al-
tar, people, and most of all the priests. God was beginning
the holy operations with sacral ritual. So the overall message
would be: Everyone who ministers, everyone who worships,
and everything they use in the presence of Yahweh, must be
set apart to God by the cleansing, enabling, and sanctifying
work of God.
 tn Heb “the thing.”
 tn Literally: “take one bull, a ‘son’ of the herd.”
 tn The word םי ִמ ָ ּת (tamim) means “perfect.” The animals
could not have diseases or be crippled or blind (see Mal 1).
The requirement was designed to ensure that the people
would give the best they had to Yahweh. The typology pointed
to the sinless Messiah who would fulfill all these sacrifices in
his one sacrifice on the cross.
 sn This will be for the minkhah (ה ָח ְנ ִמ) offering (Lev 2),
which was to accompany the animal sacrifices.
 tn Or “anointed” (KJV, ASV).
 tn The “fine flour” is here an adverbial accusative, ex-
plaining thematerial from which these items weremade. The
flour is to be finely sifted, and from the wheat, not the barley,
which was often the material used by the poor. Fine flour, no
leaven, and perfect animals, without blemishes, were to be
gathered for this service.
 tn The verb ב ַר ָק (qarav) in the Hiphil means to “bring
near” to the altar, or, to offer something to God. These gifts
will, therefore, be offered to him for the service of this ritual.
 tn Heb “and with.”
 tn Here too the verb is Hiphil (now imperfect) meaning
“bring near” the altar. The choice of this verb indicates that
they were not merely being brought near, but that they were
being formally presented to Yahweh as the offerings were.
0 sn This is the washing referred to in Lev 8:6. This is a
complete washing, not just of the hands and feet that would
follow in the course of service. It had to serve as a symbolic
ritual cleansing or purifying as the initial stage in the conse-
cration. The imagery of washing will be used in the NT for re-
generation (Titus 3:5).
 tn The Hiphil of שׁ ַב ָל (lavash, “to clothe”) will take double
accusatives; so the sign of the accusative is with Aaron, and
then with the articles of clothing. The translation will have to
treat Aaron as the direct object and the articles as indirect
objects, because Aaron receives the prominence in the verse
– you will clothe Aaron.
exodus 8:4 00
of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastpiece; you
are to fasten the ephod on him by using the skill-
fully woven waistband. 9:6 You are to put the
turban on his head and put the holy diadem on
the turban. 9:7 You are to take the anointing oil
and pour it on his head and anoint him. 9:8 You
are to present his sons and clothe them with tu-
nics 9:9 and wrap the sashes around Aaron and
his sons and put headbands on them, and so the
ministry of priesthood will belong to them by a
perpetual ordinance. Thus you are to consecrate
Aaron and his sons.
9:10 “You are to present the bull at the front
of the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons
are to put their hands on the head of the bull.
9:11 You are to kill the bull before the Lord at
the entrance to the tent of meeting 9:1 and take
some of the blood of the bull and put it on the
horns of the altar with your finger; all the rest
 tn The verb used in this last clause is a denominative verb
from the word for ephod. And so “ephod the ephod on him”
means “fasten as an ephod the ephod on him” (S. R. Driver,
Exodus, 316).
 sn This term does not appear in chap. 28, but it can only
refer to the plate with the inscription on it that was tied to the
turban. Here it is called a “holy diadem,” a diadem that is dis-
tinctly set apart for this service. All the clothing was described
as “holy garments,” and so they were all meant to mark the
separation of the priests to this holy service. The items of
clothing were each intended for different aspects of ministry,
and so this step in the consecration was designed to symbol-
ize being set apart for those duties, or, prepared (gifted) to
perform theministry.
 sn The act of anointing wasmeant to set him apart for this
holy service within the house of Yahweh. The psalms indicate
that no oil was spared in this ritual, for it ran down his beard
and to the hem of his garment. Oil of anointing was used for
all major offices (giving the label with the passive adjective
“mashiah” (or “messiah”) to anyone anointed. In the further
revelation of Scripture, the oil came to signify the enablement
as well as the setting apart, and often the Holy Spirit came on
the person at the anointing with oil. The olive oil was a sym-
bol of the Spirit in the OT as well (Zech 4:4-6). And in the NT
“anointing” signifies empowerment by the Holy Spirit for ser-
 tc Hebrew has both the objective pronoun “them” and the
names “Aaron and his sons.” Neither the LXX nor Leviticus
8:13 has “Aaron and his sons,” suggesting that thismay have
been a later gloss in the text.
 tn Heb “and you will fill the hand” and so “consecrate” or
“ordain.” The verb draws together the individual acts of the
 tn The verb is singular, agreeing with the first of the com-
pound subject – Aaron.
 sn The details of these offerings have to be determined
from a careful study of Leviticus. There is a good deal of de-
bate over the meaning of laying hands on the animals. At the
very least it identifies the animal formally as their sacrifice.
But it may very well indicate that the animal is a substitute
for them as well, given the nature and the effect of the sac-
 sn This act seems to have signified the efficacious nature
of the blood, since the horns represented power. This is part
of the ritual of the sin offering for laity, because before the
priests become priests they are treated as laity. The offering
is better described as a purification offering rather than a sin
offering, because it was offered, according to Leviticus, for
both sins and impurities.Moreover, it was offered primarily to
purify the sanctuary so that the once-defiled or sinful person
could enter (see J.Milgrom, Leviticus [AB]).
of the blood you are to pour out at the base of the
altar. 9:13You are to take all the fat that covers the
entrails, and the lobe0 that is above the liver, and
the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and
burn them on the altar. 9:14 But the meat of the
bull, its skin, and its dung you are to burn up out-
side the camp. It is the purification offering.
9:15 “You are to take one ram, and Aaron
and his sons are to lay their hands on the ram’s
head, 9:16 and you are to kill the ram and take
its blood and splash it all around on the altar.
9:17 Then you are to cut the ram into pieces and
wash the entrails and its legs and put them on its
pieces and on its head 9:18 and burn the whole
ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the Lord,
a soothing aroma; it is an offeringmade by fire to
the Lord.
9:19 “You are to take the second ram, and
Aaron and his sons are to lay their hands on the
ram’s head, 9:0 and you are to kill the ram and
take some of its blood and put it on the tip of
 tn The phrase “rest of” has been supplied in the transla-
tion for clarification.
0 tn S. R. Driver suggests that this is the appendix or an
appendix, both here and in v. 22 (Exodus, 320). “The surplus,
the appendage of liver, found with cow, sheep, or goat, but
not with humans: Lobus caudatus” (HALOT 453 s.v. ת ֶר ֶת ֹי).
 tn Heb “turn [them] into sweet smoke” since the word is
used for burning incense.
sn The giving of the visceral organs and the fat has received
various explanations. The fat represented the best, and the
best was to go to God. If the animal is a substitute, then the
visceral organs represent the will of the worshiper in an act of
surrender to God.
 tn Heb “burn with fire.”
 sn This is to be done because there is no priesthood yet.
Once they are installed, then the sin/purification offering is
to be eaten by the officiating priests as a sign that the offer-
ing was received. But priests could not consume their own sin
 sn There were two kinds of “purification offering,” those
made with confession for sin and those made without. The
title needs to cover both of them, and if it is called in the tradi-
tional way “the sin offering,” that will convey that when people
offered it for skin diseases, menstruation, or having babies,
they had sinned. That was not the case. Moreover, it is usual
to translate the names of the sacrifices by what they domore
than what they cover – so peace offering, reparation offering,
and purification offering.
 tn Heb “turn to sweet smoke.”
 sn According to Lev 1 the burnt offering (often called
whole burnt offering, except that the skins were usually given
to the priests for income) was an atoning sacrifice. By con-
suming the entire animal, God was indicating that he had
completely accepted the worshiper, and as it was a sweet
smelling fire sacrifice, he was indicating that he was pleased
to accept it. By offering the entire animal, the worshiper was
indicating on his part a complete surrender to God.
 tn The word ה ֶ ּשׁ ִא (’isheh) has traditionally been translated
“an offeringmade with fire” or the like, because it appears so
obviously connected with fire. But further evidence from Uga-
ritic suggests that it might only mean “a gift” (see Milgrom,
Leviticus 1-16, 161).
 sn These sections show that the priest had to be purified
or cleansed from defilement of sin and also be atoned for and
accepted by the Lord through the blood of the sacrifice. The
principles from these two sacrifices should be basic to any-
one seeking to serve God.
01 exodus 9:0
the right ear ofAaron, on the tip of the right ear of
his sons, on the thumb of their right hand, and on
the big toe of their right foot, and then splash the
blood all around on the altar. 9:1You are to take
some of the blood that is on the altar and some of
the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron, on his
garments, on his sons, and on his sons’ garments
with him, so that he may be holy, he and his gar-
ments along with his sons and his sons’ garments.
9: “You are to take from the ram the fat, the
fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the lobe
of the liver, the two kidneys and the fat that is on
them, and the right thigh – for it is the ram for con-
secration – 9:3 and one round flat cake of bread,
one perforated cake of oiled bread, and one wafer
from the basket of bread made without yeast that
is before the Lord. 9:4 You are to put all these
in Aaron’s hands and in his sons’ hands, and you
are to wave them as a wave offering before the
Lord. 9:5 Then you are to take them from their
hands and burn them0 on the altar for a burnt of-
fering, for a soothing aroma before the Lord. It is
an offeringmade by fire to the Lord. 9:6You are
to take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecra-
tion; you are to wave it as a wave offering before
the Lord, and it is to be your share. 9:7 You are
to sanctify the breast of the wave offering and the
thigh of the contribution, which were waved and
 sn By this ritual the priests were set apart completely to
the service of God. The ear represented the organ of hearing
(as in “ears you have dug” in Ps 40 or “awakens my ear” in
Isa 50), and this had to be set apart to God so that they could
hear the Word of God. The thumb and the hand represented
the instrument to be used for all ministry, and so everything
that they “put their hand to” had to be dedicated to God and
appropriate for his service. The toe set the foot apart to God,
meaning that the walk of the priest had to be consecrated –
where he went, how he conducted himself, what life he lived,
all belonged to God now.
 tn Here “it” has been supplied.
 tn The verb in this instance is Qal and not Piel, “to be holy”
rather than “sanctify.” The result of all this ritual is that Aaron
and his sonswill be set aside and distinct in their life and their
 tn S. R. Driver suggests that this is the appendix or an ap-
pendix, both here and in v. 13 (Exodus, 320). “The surplus,
the appendage of liver, found with cow, sheep, or goat, but
not with humans: Lobus caudatus” (HALOT 453 s.v. ת ֶר ֶת ֹי).
 tn Heb “filling.”
 tn Heb “the whole” or “the all.”
 tn Heb “palms.”
 tn The “wave offering” is ה ָפ ּונ ְ ּת (tÿnufah); it is, of course,
cognate with the verb, but an adverbial accusative rather
than the direct object. In Lev 23 this seems to be a sacrificial
gesture of things that are for the priests – but they present
them first to Yahweh and then receive them back from him.
So the waving is not side to side, but forward to Yahweh and
then back to the priest. Here it is just an induction into that
routine, since this is the ordination of the priests and the gifts
are not yet theirs. So this will all be burned on the altar.
 tn “turn to sweet smoke.”
0 tn “them” has been supplied.
 sn These are the two special priestly offerings: the wave
offering (from the verb “to wave”) and the “presentation offer-
ing” (older English: heave offering; from a verb “to be high,”
in Hiphil meaning “to lift up,” an item separated from the of-
fering, a contribution). The two are then clarified with two cor-
responding relative clauses containing two Hophals: “which
was waved and which was presented.” In making sacrifices,
lifted up as a contribution from the ram of con-
secration, from what belongs to Aaron and to his
sons. 9:8 It is to belong toAaron and to his sons
from the Israelites, by a perpetual ordinance, for it
is a contribution. It is to be a contribution from the
Israelites from their peace offerings, their contri-
bution to the Lord.
9:9 “The holy garments that belong toAaron
are to belong to his sons after him, so that they
may be anointed in them and consecrated in
them. 9:30 The priest who succeeds him from
his sons, when he first comes to the tent ofmeet-
ing to minister in the Holy Place, is to wear them
for seven days.
9:31 “You are to take the ram of the con-
secration and cook its meat in a holy place.
9:3 Aaron and his sons are to eat the meat of
the ram and the bread that was in the basket at
the entrance of the tent of meeting. 9:33 They
are to eat those things by which atonement was
made to consecrate and to set them apart, but
no one else0 may eat them, for they are holy.
9:34 If any of the meat from the consecration of-
ferings or any of the bread is left over until
the breast and the thigh belong to the priests.
 tn The construction is an infinitive construct with a lamed
(ל) preposition. The form simply means “for anointing,” but it
serves to express the purpose or result of their inheriting the
sacred garments.
 tn This form is a Piel infinitive construct with a lamed (ל)
preposition. It literally reads “for filling the hands,” the idiom
used throughout this chapter for ordination or installation.
Here too it has a parallel use of purpose or result.
 tn Heb “after him”; NCV, NLT “after Aaron.”
 tn The text just has the relative pronoun and the imper-
fect tense. It could be translated “who comes/enters.” But
the context seems to indicate that this would be when he first
comes to the tent to begin his tenure as High Priest, and so a
temporal clausemakes this clear. “First” has been supplied.
 tn “Seven days” is an adverbial accusative of time. The
ritual of ordination is to be repeated for seven days, and so
they are to remain there in the court in full dress.
 tn Or “boil” (see Lev 8:31).
 sn The “holy place”must be in the courtyard of the sanc-
tuary. Lev 8:31 says it is to be cooked at the entrance of the
tent of meeting. Here it says it will be eaten there as well.
This, then, becomes a communion sacrifice, a peace offer-
ing which was a shared meal. Eating a communal meal in a
holy place was meant to signify that the worshipers and the
priests were at peace with God.
 tn The clause is a relative clause modifying “those
things,” the direct object of the verb “eat.” The relative clause
has a resumptive pronoun: “which atonement was made by
them” becomes “by which atonement wasmade.” The verb is
a Pual perfect of ר ֵ ּפ ִ ּכ (kipper, “to expiate, atone, pacify”).
0 tn The Hebrew word is “stranger, alien” (ר ָז, zar). But in
this context it means anyone who is not a priest (see S. R.
Driver, Exodus, 324).
 tn Or “ordination offerings” (Heb “fillings”).
 tn The verb in the conditional clause is a Niphal imper-
fect of ר ַת ָי (yatar); this verb is repeated in the next clause (as
a Niphal participle) as the direct object of the verb “you will
burn” (a Qal perfect with a vav [ו] consecutive to form the in-
exodus 9:1 0
morning, then you are to burn upwhat is left over.
It must not be eaten, because it is holy.
9:35 “Thus you are to do for Aaron and for
his sons, according to all that I have commanded
you; you are to consecrate them for seven days.
9:36 Every day you are to prepare a bull for a
purification offering for atonement. You are to
purge the altar by making atonement for it, and
you are to anoint it to set it apart as holy. 9:37 For
seven days you are to make atonement for the al-
tar and set it apart as holy. Then the altar will be
most holy.0 Anything that touches the altar will
be holy.
9:38 “Now this is what you are to prepare
on the altar every day continually: two lambs a
year old. 9:39 The first lamb you are to prepare
in the morning, and the second lamb you are to
prepare around sundown. 9:40 With the first
 tn Heb “burn with fire.”
 tn The verb is aNiphal imperfect negated. It expresses the
prohibition against eating this, but in the passive voice: “it will
not be eaten,” or stronger, “itmust not be eaten.”
 tn Heb “you will fill their hand.”
 tn The “seven days” is the adverbial accusative explaining
that the ritual of the filling should continue daily for a week.
Leviticus makes it clear that they are not to leave the sanctu-
 tn The construction uses a genitive: “a bull of the sin of-
fering,” which means, a bull that is designated for a sin (or
better, purification) offering.
 sn It is difficult to understand how this verse is to be har-
monized with the other passages. The ceremony in the ear-
lier passages deals with atonement made for the priests, for
people. But here it is the altar that is being sanctified. The
“sin [purification] offering” seems to be for purification of the
sanctuary and altar to receive people in their worship.
 tn The verb is ָתא ֵ ּט ִח ְו (vÿhitte’ta), a Piel perfect of the word
usually translated “to sin.” Here it may be interpreted as a
privative Piel (as in Ps 51:7 [9]), with the sense of “un-sin”
or “remove sin.” It could also be interpreted as related to
the word for “sin offering,” and so be a denominative verb.
It means “to purify, cleanse.” The Hebrews understood that
sin and contamination could corrupt and pollute even things,
and so they had to be purged.
 tn The construction is a Piel infinitive construct in an ad-
verbial clause. The preposition bet (ב) that begins the clause
could be taken as a temporal preposition, but in this context
it seems to express themeans by which the altar was purged
of contamination – “in your making atonement” is “by [your]
making atonement.”
 tn Once again this is an adverbial accusative of time. Each
day for seven days the ritual at the altar is to be followed.
0 tn The construction is the superlative genitive: “holy of
holies,” or “most holy.”
 sn This line states an unusual principle, meant to pre-
serve the sanctity of the altar. S. R. Driver explains it this way
(Exodus, 325): If anything comes in contact with the altar, it
becomes holy andmust remain in the sanctuary for Yahweh’s
use. If a person touches the altar, he likewise becomes holy
and cannot return to the profane regions. He will be given
over to God to be dealt with as God pleases. Anyone who was
not qualified to touch the altar did not dare approach it, for
contact would havemeant that he was no longer free to leave
but was God’s holy possession – and might pay for it with his
life (see Exod 30:29; Lev 6:18b, 27; and Ezek 46:20).
 tn The verb is “you will do,” “you will make.” It clearly re-
fers to offering the animals on the altar, but may emphasize
all the preparation that was involved in the process.
 tn Heb “between the two evenings” or “between the two
settings” (ם ִי ָ ּב ְר ַע ָה ןי ֵ ּב, ben ha’arbayim). This expression has had
a good deal of discussion. (1) Tg. Onq. says “between the two
lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flourmixed
with a fourth of a hin of oil from pressed olives,
and a fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering.
9:41 The second lamb you are to offer around
sundown; you are to prepare for it the same meal
offering as for the morning and the same drink of-
fering, for a soothing aroma, an offering made by
fire to the Lord.
9:4 “This will be a regular burnt offering
throughout your generations at the entrance of
the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will
meet with you to speak to you there. 9:43 There
I will meet with the Israelites, and it will be set
apart as holy by my glory.
9:44 “So I will set apart as holy0 the tent
of meeting and the altar, and I will set apart as
holy Aaron and his sons, that they may minister
as priests to me. 9:45 I will reside among the
suns,” which the Talmud explains as the time between the
sunset and the time the stars become visible.More technical-
ly, the first “evening” would be the time between sunset and
the appearance of the crescent moon, and the second “eve-
ning” the next hour, or from the appearance of the crescent
moon to full darkness (see Deut 16:6 – “at the going down
of the sun”). (2) Saadia, Rashi, and Kimchi say the first eve-
ning is when the sun begins to decline in the west and cast its
shadows, and the second evening is the beginning of night.
(3) The view adopted by the Pharisees and the Talmudists (b.
Pesahim 61a) is that the first evening is when the heat of the
sun begins to decrease, and the second evening begins at
sunset, or, roughly from 3-5 p.m. The Mishnah (m. Pesahim
5:1) indicates the lamb was killed about 2:30 p.m. – anything
before noon was not valid. S. R. Driver concludes from this
survey that the first view is probably the best, although the
last view was the traditionally accepted one (Exodus, 89-90).
Late afternoon or early evening seems to be intended, the
time of twilight perhaps.
 tn The phrase “of an ephah” has been supplied for clar-
ity (cf. Num 28:5). The ephah was a commonly used drymea-
sure whose capacity is now uncertain: “Quotations given for
the ephah vary from ca. 45 to 20 liters” (C. Houtman, Exodus,
 tn “Hin” is a transliterated Hebrew word that seems to
have an Egyptian derivation. The amount of liquid measured
by a hin is uncertain: “Its presumed capacity varies from
about 3,5 liters to 7,5 liters” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:550).
 tn The translation has “regular” instead of “continually,”
because they will be preparing this twice a day.
 tn The relative clause identifies the place in front of the
Tent as the place that Yahweh would meet Moses. The main
verb of the clause is ד ֵע ָ ּו ִא (’ivva’ed), a Niphal imperfect of the
verb ד ַע ָי (ya’ad), the verb that is cognate to the name “tent of
meeting” – hence the name. This clause leads into the next
four verses.
 tn The verb now is a Niphal perfect from the same root,
with a vav (ו) consecutive. It simply continues the preceding
verb, announcing now that he wouldmeet the people.
 tn Or “will be sanctified by my glory” (KJV and ASV both
sn The tabernacle, as well as the priests and the altar, will
be sanctified by the power of Yahweh’s presence. The refer-
ence here is to when Yahweh enters the sanctuary in all his
glory (see Exod 40:34f.).
0 tn This verse affirms the same point as the last, but now
with an active verb: “I will set apart as holy” (or “I will sanc-
tify”). This verse, then, probably introduces the conclusion of
the chapter: “So I will….”
 tn The verb has the root ן ַכ ָשׁ (shakan), from which came
the word for the dwelling place, or sanctuary, itself (ן ָ ּכ ְשׁ ִמ,
mishkan). It is also used for the description of “the Shekinah
glory.” God is affirming that he will reside in the midst of his
03 exodus 9:45
Israelites, and I will be their God, 9:46 and they
will know that I am the Lord their God, who
brought them out from the land of Egypt, so that I
may reside among them. I am the Lord their God.
The Altar of Incense
30:1 “You are to make an altar for burning in-
cense; you are tomake it of acaciawood. 30: Its
length is to be a foot and a half and itswidth a foot
and a half; itwill be square. Its height is to be three
feet, with its horns of one piece with it. 30:3You
are to overlay it with pure gold – its top, its four
walls, and its horns – and make a surrounding
border of gold for it.0 30:4 You are to make two
gold rings for it under its border, on its two flanks;
you are tomake them on its two sides.The rings
will be places for poles to carry it with. 30:5You
are to make the poles of acacia wood and overlay
them with gold.
30:6 “You are to put it in front of the curtain
that is before the ark of the testimony (before the
 sn Why this section has been held until now is a mystery.
Onewould have expected to find itwith the instructions for the
other furnishings. The widespread contemporary view that it
was composed later does not answer the question, it merely
moves the issue to the work of an editor rather than the au-
thor. N. M. Sarna notes concerning the items in chapter 30
that “all the materials for these final items were anticipated
in the list of invited donations in 25:3-6” and that they were
not needed for installing Aaron and his sons (Exodus [JPSTC],
193). Verses 1-10 can be divided into three sections: the in-
structions for building the incense altar (1-5), its placement
(6), and its proper use (7-10).
 tn The expression is ת ֶר ֹט ְק ר ַט ְק ִמ ַח ֵ ּב ְז ִמ (mizbeakh miqtar
qÿtoret), either “an altar, namely an altar of incense,” or “an
altar, [for] burning incense.” The second noun is “altar of in-
cense,” although some suggest it is an active noun meaning
“burning.” If the former, then it is in apposition to the word for
“altar” (which is not in construct). The last noun is “incense”
or “sweet smoke.” It either qualifies the “altar of incense” or
serves as the object of the active noun. B. Jacob says that
in order to designate that this altar be used only for incense,
the Torah prepared the second word for this passage alone. It
specifies the kind of altar this is (Exodus, 828).
 tn This is an adverbial accusative explaining the material
used in building the altar.
 sn See M. Haran, “The Uses of Incense in Ancient Israel
Ritual,” VT 10 (1960): 113-15; N. Glueck, “Incense Altars,”
Translating and Understanding the Old Testament, 325-29.
 tn Heb “a cubit.”
 tn Heb “two cubits.”
 tn Heb “its horns from it.”
 tn Heb “roof.”
 tn Heb “its walls around.”
0 tn Heb “and make for it border gold around.” The verb
is a consecutive perfect. See Exod 25:11, where the ark also
has such amolding.
 sn Since itwas a small altar, it needed only two rings, one
on either side, in order to be carried. The second clause clari-
fies that the rings should be on the sides, the right and the
left, as you approach the altar.
 tn Heb “And it”; this refers to the rings collectively in their
placement on the box, and so the word “rings” has been used
to clarify the referent for themodern reader.
 tn Heb “for houses.”
atonement lid that is over the testimony), where
I will meet you. 30:7 Aaron is to burn sweet in-
cense on it morning by morning; when he at-
tends to the lamps he is to burn incense.
30:8 When Aaron sets up the lamps around sun-
down he is to burn incense on it; it is to be a regu-
lar incense offering before the Lord throughout
your generations. 30:9 You must not offer strange
incense on it, nor burnt offering, nor meal offer-
ing, and you must not pour out a drink offering on
it. 30:10 Aaron is to make atonement on its horns
once in the year with some of the blood of the sin
offering for atonement; once in the year he is
to make atonement on it throughout your genera-
tions. It is most holy to the Lord.”
The Ransom Money
30:110 The Lord spoke to Moses:
30:1 “When you take a census of the Israelites
according to their number, then each man is to
 tn The text uses a cognate accusative (“incense”) with
the verb “to burn” or “to make into incense/sweet smoke.”
Then, the noun “sweet spices” is added in apposition to clari-
fy the incense as sweet.
 tn The Hebrew is ֹובי ִטי ֵה ְ ּב (bÿhetivo), a Hiphil infinitive con-
struct serving in a temporal clause. The Hebrew verb means
“to make good” and so in this context “to fix” or “to dress.”
This refers to cleansing and trimming the lamps.
 sn The point of the little golden altar of incense is normal-
ly for intercessory prayer, and then at the Day of Atonement
for blood applied atonement. The instructions for making it
show that God wanted his people to make a place for prayer.
The instructions for its use show that God expects that the
requests of his people will be pleasing to him.
 tn The word “atonements” (plural in Hebrew) is a genitive
showing the result or product of the sacrificemade.
 sn This ruling presupposes that the instruction for the
Day of Atonement has been given, or at the very least, is to be
given shortly. That is the one day of the year that all sin and all
ritual impurity would be removed.
 sn The phrase “most holy to the Lord”means that the al-
tar cannot be used for any other purpose than what is stated
0 sn This brief section has been interpreted a number of
ways by biblical scholars (for a good survey and discussion,
see B. Jacob, Exodus, 829-35). In this context the danger of
erecting and caring for a sanctuary may have been in view.
A census would be taken to count the losses and to cover
the danger of coming into such proximity with the holy place;
payment was made to ransom the lives of the people num-
bered so that they would not die. The money collected would
then be used for the care of the sanctuary. The principle was
fairly straightforward: Those numbered among the redeemed
of the Lord were to support the work of the Lord to maintain
their fellowship with the covenant. The passage is fairly easy
to outline: I. Every covenant member must give a ransom for
his life to avoid death (11-12); II. The ransom is the same for
all, whether rich or poor (13-15); and III. The ransom money
supports the sanctuary as amemorial for the ransomed (16).
 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying.” This full
means for introducing a quotation from the Lord is used again
in 30:17, 22; 31:1; and 40:1. It appears first in 6:10. Cynthia
L. Miller discusses its use in detail (The Representation of
Speech in Biblical Hebrew Narrative, 373-86).
 tn The expression is “when you take [lift up] the sum
[head] of the Israelites.”
 tn The form is ם ֶהי ֵד ֻק ְפ ִל (lifqudehem, “according to those
that are numbered of/by them”) from the verb ד ַק ָ ּפ (paqad,
“to visit”). But the idea of this word seems more to be that
of changing or determining the destiny, and so “appoint” and
“number” become clear categories of meaning for the word.
exodus 9:46 04
pay a ransom for his life to the Lord when you
number them, so that there will be no plague
among them when you number them. 30:13 Ev-
eryone who crosses over to those who are num-
bered is to pay this: a half shekel according
to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel weighs
twenty gerahs). The half shekel is to be an offer-
ing to the Lord. 30:14 Everyone who crosses over
to those numbered, from twenty years old and
up, is to pay an offering to the Lord. 30:15 The
rich are not to increase it, and the poor are not
to pay less than the half shekel when giving the
offering of the Lord, to make atonement for
your lives. 30:16 You are to receive the atone-
ment money0 from the Israelites and give it for
Here it simply refers to the census, but when this word is used
for a census it often involves mustering an army for a military
purpose. Here there is no indication of a war, but it may be
laying down the principle that when they should do this, here
is the price. B. Jacob (Exodus, 835) uses Num 31 as a good
illustration, showing that the warrior was essentially a mur-
derer, if he killed anyone in battle. For this reason his blood
was forfeit; if he survived he must pay a ר ֶפ ֹ ּכ (kofer) because
every human life possesses value and must be atoned for.
The payment during the census represented a “presumptive
ransom” so that they could not be faulted for what theymight
do in war.
 tn The “ransom” is ר ֶפ ֹ ּכ (kofer), a word related to words
translated “atone” and “atonement.” Here the noun refers to
what is paid for the life. The idea is that of delivering or re-
deeming by a substitute – here the substitute is themoney. If
they paid the amount, their lives would be safe (W. C. Kaiser,
Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:473).
 tn The temporal clause uses a preposition, an infinitive
construct, and then an accusative. The subject is supplied:
“in numbering them”means “when [you] number them.” The
verb could also be rendered “when youmuster them.”
 sn Each man was to pass in front of the counting officer
and join those already counted on the other side.
 sn The half shekel weight of silver would be about one-
fifth of an ounce (6 grams).
 sn It appears that some standard is in view for the amount
of a shekel weight. The sanctuary shekel is sometimes con-
sidered to be twice the value of the ordinary shekel. The
“gerah,” also of uncertain meaning, was mentioned as a ref-
erence point for the ancient reader to understand the value
of the required payment. It may also be that the expression
meant “a sacred shekel” and looked at the purposemore – a
shekel for sanctuary dues. Thiswouldmean that the standard
of the shekel weight was set because it was the traditional
amount of sacred dues (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 333). “Though
there is no certainty, the shekel is said to weigh about 11,5
grams…. Whether an official standard is meant [by ‘sanctu-
ary shekel’] or whether the sanctuary shekel had a different
weight than the ‘ordinary’ shekel is not known” (C. Houtman,
Exodus, 3:181).
 tn Or “contribution” (ה ָמ ּור ְ ּת, tÿrumah).
 tn Or “paymore.”
 tn The form is ת ֵת ָל (latet), the Qal infinitive construct with
the lamed preposition. The infinitive here is explaining the
preceding verbs. They are not to increase or diminish the
amount “in paying the offering.” The construction approxi-
mates a temporal clause.
 tn This infinitive construct (ר ֵ ּפ ַכ ְל, lÿkhapper) provides the
purpose of the giving the offering – to atone.
0 tn Heb “the silver of the atonements.” The genitive here
is the result (as in “sheep of slaughter”) telling what themon-
ey will be used for (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 11,
the service of the tent ofmeeting. Itwill be ame-
morial for the Israelites before the Lord, tomake
atonement for your lives.”
The Bronze Laver
30:17 The Lord spoke to Moses: 30:18
“You are also to make a large bronze basin with
a bronze stand for washing. You are to put it be-
tween the tent ofmeeting and the altar and put wa-
ter in it, 30:19 andAaron and his sons must wash
their hands and their feet from it. 30:0When they
enter0 the tent of meeting, they must wash with
water so that they do not die.Also,when they ap-
proach the altar to minister by burning incense
as an offeringmade by fire to theLord, 30:1 they
must wash their hands and their feet so that they
do not die.And this will be a perpetual ordinance
 sn The idea of “service” is maintenance and care of the
sanctuary and its service, meaning the morning and evening
sacrifices and the other elements to be used.
 sn S. R. Driver says this is “to keep Jehovah in continual
remembrance of the ransom which had been paid for their
lives” (Exodus, 334).
 tn The infinitive could be taken in a couple of ways here.
It could be an epexegetical infinitive: “making atonement.” Or
it could be the infinitive expressing result: “so that atonement
will bemade for your lives.”
 sn Another piece of furniture is now introduced, the la-
ver, or washing basin. It was a round (the root means to be
round) basin for holding water, but it had to be up on a ped-
estal or base to let water run out (through taps of some kind)
for the priests to wash – they could not simply dip dirty hands
into the basin. This was for the priests primarily to wash their
hands and feet before entering the tent. It stood in the court-
yard between the altar and the tent. No dimensions are given.
The passage can be divided into three sections: the instruc-
tions (17-18), the rules for washing (19-20), and the reminder
that this is a perpetual statute.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke toMoses, saying.”
 sn The metal for this object was obtained from the wom-
en from theirmirrors (see Exod 38:8).
 tn Heb “and its stand bronze.”
 tn The form is the adverb “there” with the directive qa-
mets-he (ָ ה).
 tn That is, from water from it.
0 tn The form is an infinitive construct with the temporal
preposition bet (ב), and a suffixed subjective genitive: “in their
going in,” or, whenever they enter.
 tn “Water” is an adverbial accusative ofmeans, and so is
translated “with water.” Gesenius classifies this with verbs of
“covering with something.” But he prefers to emend the text
with a preposition (see GKC 369 §117.y, n. 1).
 tn The verb is a Qal imperfect with a nuance of final im-
perfect. The purpose/result clause here is indicated only with
the conjunction: “and they do not die.” But clearly from the
context this is the intended result of their washing – it is in
order that they not die.
 tn Here, too, the infinitive is used in a temporal clause
construction. The verb שׁ ַג ָנ (nagash) is the common verb used
for drawing near to the altar to make offerings – the official
duties of the priest.
 tn The text uses two infinitives construct: “to minister to
burn incense”; the first is the general term and expresses the
purpose of the drawing near, and the second infinitive is epex-
egetical, explaining the first infinitive.
 tn The translation “as an offeringmade by fire” is a stan-
dard rendering of the one word in the text that appears to re-
fer to “fire.”Milgrom and others contend that it simplymeans
a “gift” (Leviticus 1-16, 161).
 tn Heb “and [then] they will wash.”
 tn The verb is “it will be.”
05 exodus 30:1
for them and for their descendants throughout
their generations.”
Oil and Incense
30:The Lord spoke toMoses: 30:3 “Take
choice spices: twelve and a half pounds of free-
flowing myrrh, half that – about six and a quarter
pounds – of sweet-smelling cinnamon, six and a
quarter pounds of sweet-smelling cane, 30:4 and
twelve and a half pounds of cassia, all weighed
according to the sanctuary shekel, and four quarts0
of olive oil. 30:5 You are to make this into a
sacred anointing oil, a perfumed compound, the
work of a perfumer. It will be sacred anointing
 tn Heb “for his seed.”
 tn Or “for generations to come”; it literally is “to their gen-
sn The symbolic meaning of washing has been taught
throughout the ages. This was a practical matter of cleaning
hands and feet, but it was also symbolic of purification before
Yahweh. It was an outward sign of inner spiritual cleansing, or
forgiveness. Jesus washed the disciples feet (Jn 13) to show
this same teaching; he asked the disciples if they knew what
he had done (so it was more than washing feet). In this pas-
sage the theological points for the outline would be these: I.
God provides the means of cleansing; II. Cleansing is a pre-
requisite for participating in the worship, and III. (Believers)
priests must regularly appropriate God’s provision of cleans-
 sn The chapter ends with these two sections. The oil (22-
33) is themark of consecration, and the incense (34-38) is a
mark of pleasing service, especially in prayer. So the essence
of the message of the chapter is that the servants of God
must be set apart by the Spirit forministry andmust be pleas-
ing to God in theministry.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke toMoses, saying.”
 tn The construction uses the imperative “take,” but be-
fore it is the independent pronoun to add emphasis to it. After
the imperative is the ethical dative (lit. “to you”) to stress the
task to Moses as a personal responsibility: “and you, take to
 tn Heb “spices head.” Thismustmean the chief spices, or
perhaps the top spice, meaning fine spices or choice spices.
See Song 4:14; Ezek 27:22.
 tn Or “500 shekels.” Verse 24 specifies that the sanctu-
ary shekel was the unit for weighing the spices. The total of
1500 shekels for the four spices is estimated at between 77
and 100 pounds, or 17 to 22 kilograms, depending on how
much a shekel weighed (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:576).
 sn Myrrh is an aromatic substance that flows from the
bark of certain trees in Arabia and Africa and then hardens.
“The hardened globules of the gum appear also to have been
ground into a powder that would have been easy to store and
would have been poured from a container” (J. Durham, Exo-
dus [WBC], 3:406).
 tn The words “all weighed” are added for clarity in Eng-
0 tn Or “a hin.” A hin of oil is estimated at around one gal-
lon (J. Durham, Exodus [WBC], 3:406).
 tn Heb “it.”
 tn The word “oil” is an adverbial accusative, indicating
the product that results from the verb (R. J. Williams, Hebrew
Syntax, §52).
 tn The somewhat rare words rendered “a perfumed
compound” are both associated with a verbal root having to
do with mixing spices and other ingredients to make fragrant
ointments. They are used with the next phrase, “the work of a
perfumer,” to describe the finished oil as a special mixture of
aromatic spices and one requiring the knowledge and skills
of an experiencedmaker.
30:6 “With it you are to anoint the tent of
meeting, the ark of the testimony, 30:7 the table
and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils,
the altar of incense, 30:8 the altar for the burnt
offering and all its utensils, and the laver and its
base. 30:9 So you are to sanctify them, and they
will be most holy; anything that touches them
will be holy.
30:30 “You are to anoint Aaron and his sons
and sanctify them, so that they may minister as
my priests. 30:31And you are to tell the Israelites:
‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil throughout
your generations. 30:3 It must not be applied to
people’s bodies, and youmust notmake any like it
with the same recipe. It is holy, and itmust be holy
to you. 30:33Whoever makes perfume like it and
whoever puts any of it on someone not a priest
will be cut off0 from his people.’”
30:34 The Lord said to Moses: “Take spic-
es, gum resin, onycha, galbanum, and pure
frankincense of equal amounts 30:35 and
make it into an incense, a perfume, the work
of a perfumer. It is to be finely ground, and
 tn The verb is a Piel perfect with vav (ו) consecutive; in
this verse it is summarizing or explaining what the anointing
has accomplished. This is the effect of the anointing (see
Exod 29:36).
 tn This is the superlative genitive again, Heb “holy of ho-
 tn See Exod 29:37; as before, this could refer to anything
or anyone touching the sanctified items.
 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive follows the
imperfect of instruction; itmay be equal to the instruction, but
more likely shows the purpose or result of the act.
 tn Without an expressed subject, the verb may be treat-
ed as a passive. Any common use, as in personal hygiene,
would be a complete desecration.
 tn Heb “a stranger,” meaning someone not ordained a
0 sn The rabbinic interpretation of this is that it is a penalty
imposed by heaven, that the life will be cut short and the per-
son could die childless.
 tn The construction is “take to you,” which could be left
in that literal sense, butmore likely the suffix is an ethical da-
tive, stressing the subject of the imperative.
 sn This is from a word thatmeans “to drip”; the spice is a
balsam that drips from a resinous tree.
 sn This may be a plant, or it may be from a species of
mollusks; it is mentioned in Ugaritic and Akkadian; it gives a
pungent odor when burnt.
 sn This is a gum from plants of the genus Ferula; it has
an unpleasant odor, but whenmixed with others is pleasant.
 tn The word “spice” is repeated here, suggesting that the
first three formed half of the ingredient and this spice the oth-
er half – but this is conjecture (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 400).
 tn Heb “of each part there will be an equal part.”
 tn This is an accusative of result or product.
 tn The word is in apposition to “incense,” further defining
the kind of incense that is to bemade.
 tn The word ח ָ ּל ֻמ ְמ (mÿmullakh), a passive participle, is
usually taken tomean “salted.” Since there is nomeaning like
that for the Pual form, the word probably should be taken as
“mixed,” as in Rashi and Tg. Onq. Seasoning with salt would
work if itwere food, but since it is not food, if itmeans “salted”
it would be a symbol of what was sound and whole for the
covenant. Some have thought that it would have helped the
incense burn quickly withmore smoke.
exodus 30: 06
pure and sacred. 30:36 You are to beat some of it
very fine and put some of it before the ark of the
testimony in the tent of meeting where I will meet
with you; it is to be most holy to you. 30:37And
the incense that you are to make, you must not
make for yourselves using the same recipe; it is
to be most holy to you, belonging to the Lord.
30:38Whoever makes anything like it, to use as
perfume, will be cut off from his people.”
Willing Artisans
31:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 31: “See, I
have chosen Bezalel son ofUri, the son of Hur, of
the tribe of Judah, 31:3 and I have filled him with
the Spirit of God in skill, in understanding, in
knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 31:4
to make artistic designs for work with gold, with
silver, and with bronze, 31:5 and with cutting and
setting stone, and with cutting wood, to work in
all kinds of craftsmanship. 31:6Moreover, I have
also given him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the
tribe of Dan, and I have given ability to all the spe-
 tn Or to smell it, to use for themaker’s own pleasure.
 sn The next unit describes the preparation of skilled work-
ers to build all that has been listed now for several chapters.
This chapter would have been the bridge to the building of
the sanctuary (35-39) if it were not for the idolatrous inter-
lude. God called individuals and prepared them by his Spirit
to be skilled to do the work for the tabernacle. If this were the
substance of an exposition, it would clearly be a message on
gifted people doing the work – close to the spiritual lesson
of Ephesians 4. There would be two levels of meaning: the
physical, which looks at the skilled artisans providing for a
place to worship Yahweh, and the spiritual, which would bring
in the Spirit-filled servants of God participating in building up
his kingdom.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke toMoses, saying.”
 tn Heb “called by name.” This expression means that the
person was specifically chosen for some important task (S.
R. Driver, Exodus, 342). See the expression with Cyrus in Isa
 sn The expression in the Bible means that the individual
was given special, supernatural enablement to do what God
wanted done. It usually is said of someone with exceptional
power or ability. The image of “filling” usually means under
the control of the Spirit, so that the Spirit is the dominant
force in the life.
 sn The following qualities are theways inwhich the Spirit’s
enablement will be displayed. “Skill” is the ability to produce
something valuable to God and the community, “understand-
ing” is the ability to distinguish between things, to perceive
the best way to follow, and “knowledge” is the experiential
awareness of how things are done.
 tn Heb “and in all work”; “all”means “all kinds of” here.
 tn The expression is ת ֹב ָשׁ ֲח ַמ ב ֹשׁ ְח ַל (lakhshovmakhashavot,
“to devise devices”). The infinitive emphasizes that Bezalel
will be able to design or plan works that are artistic or skill-
ful. He will think thoughts or devise the plans, and then he
will execute them in silver or stone or whatever othermaterial
he uses.
 tn The expression uses the independent personal pro-
noun (“and I”) with the deictic particle (“behold”) to enforce
the subject of the verb – “and I, indeed I have given.”
cially skilled,0 that they may make everything I
have commanded you: 31:7 the tent ofmeeting, the
ark of the testimony, the atonement lid that is on it,
all the furnishings of the tent, 31:8 the table with
its utensils, the pure lampstandwith all its utensils,
the altar of incense, 31:9 the altar for the burnt of-
fering with all its utensils, the large basin with its
base, 31:10 the woven garments, the holy garments
forAaron the priest and the garments for his sons,
to minister as priests, 31:11 the anointing oil, and
sweet incense for the Holy Place. They will make
all these things just as I have commanded you.”
Sabbath Observance
31:1 The Lord said to Moses, 31:13 “Tell
the Israelites, ‘SurelyyoumustkeepmySabbaths,
for it is a sign between me and you throughout
your generations, that you may know that I am
the Lord who sanctifies you. 31:14 So you must
keep the Sabbath, for it is holy for you. Everyone
who defiles it must surely be put to death; in-
deed, if anyone does any0 work on it, then that
0 tn Heb “and in the heart of all that are wise-hearted I
have put wisdom.”
sn The versemeans that there were a good number of very
skilled and trained artisans that could come to do the work
that God wanted done. But God’s Spirit further endowed
them with additional wisdom and skill for the work that had
to be done.
 tn The form is a perfect with vav (ו) consecutive. The form
at this place shows the purpose or the result ofwhat has gone
before, and so it is rendered “that theymaymake.”
 tn Heb “all the vessels of the tent.”
 sn There are some questions about the arrangement of
the book. The placement of this section here, however, should
come as no surprise. After the instructions and preparation
for work, a Sabbath day when work could not be done had to
be legislated. In all that they were going to do, they must not
violate the Sabbath.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh said (ר ַמ ָא, ’amar) toMoses, saying.”
 sn The instruction for the Sabbath at this point seems
rather abrupt, but it follows logically the extended plans of
building the sanctuary. B. Jacob, following some of the earlier
treatments, suggests that these are specific rules given for
the duration of the building of the sanctuary (Exodus, 844).
The Sabbath day is a day of complete cessation; no labor or
work could be done. The point here is that God’s covenant
people must faithfully keep the sign of the covenant as a liv-
ing commemoration of the finished work of Yahweh, and as
an active part in their sanctification. See also H. Routtenberg,
“The Laws of Sabbath: Biblical Sources,” Dor le Dor 6 (1977):
41-43, 99-101, 153-55, 204-6; G. Robinson, “The Idea of
Rest in the OT and the Search for the Basic Character of Sab-
bath,” ZAW 92 (1980): 32-42; M. Tsevat, “The Basic Mean-
ing of the Biblical Sabbath, ZAW 84 (1972): 447-59; M. T.
Willshaw, “A Joyous Sign,” ExpTim 89 (1978): 179-80.
 tn Or “your sanctifier.”
 tn This clause is all from one word, a Piel plural participle
with a third, feminine suffix: ָהי ֶל ְל ַח ְמ (mÿkhalleha, “defilers of
it”). This form serves as the subject of the sentence. The word
ל ַל ָח (khalal) is the antonym of שׁ ַד ָק (qadash, “to be holy”). It
means “common, profane,” and in the Piel stem “make com-
mon, profane” or “defile.” Treating the Sabbath like an ordi-
nary day would profane it,make it common.
 tn This is the asseverative use of י ִ ּכ (ki) meaning “surely,
indeed,” for it restates the point justmade (see R. J.Williams,
Hebrew Syntax, 73, §449).
 tn Heb “the one who does.”
0 tn “any” has been supplied.
07 exodus 31:14
person will be cut off from among his people.
31:15 Six days work may be done, but on the
seventh day is a Sabbath of complete rest, holy to
the Lord; anyone who does work on the Sabbath
day must surely be put to death. 31:16 The Israel-
ites must keep the Sabbath by observing the Sab-
bath throughout their generations as a perpetual
covenant. 31:17 It is a sign between me and the Is-
raelites forever; for in six days the Lordmade the
heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he
rested and was refreshed.’”
31:18 He gave Moses two tablets of testimo-
ny when he had finished speaking with him on
Mount Sinai, tablets of stone written by the finger
of God.
 tn Literally “her” (a feminine pronoun agreeing with “soul/
life,” which is grammatically feminine).
 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time, indicating that
workmay be done for six days out of the week.
 tn The form is a Niphal imperfect; it has the nuance of
permission in this sentence, for the sentence is simply say-
ing that the six days are work days – that is when work may
be done.
 tn The expression is ן ֹות ָ ּב ַשׁ ת ַ ּב ַשׁ (shabbat shabbaton), “a
Sabbath of entire rest,” or better, “a sabbath of complete
desisting” (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 404). The second noun, the
modifying genitive, is an abstract noun. The repetition pro-
vides the superlative idea that complete rest is the order of
the day.
 tn The expression again forms an adverbial accusative of
 sn The word “rest” essentially means “to cease, stop.”
So describing God as “resting” on the seventh day does not
indicate that he was tired – he simply finished creation and
then ceased or stopped. But in this verse is a very bold an-
thropomorphism in the form of the verb שׁ ַפ ָ ּנ ִ ּי ַו (vayyinnafash),
a Niphal preterite from the root שׁ ַפ ָנ (nafash), the word that
is related to “life, soul” or more specifically “breath, throat.”
The verb is usually translated here as “he was refreshed,”
offering a very human picture. It could also be rendered “he
took breath” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 345). Elsewhere the verb is
used of people and animals. The anthropomorphism is clear-
ly intended to teach people to stop and refresh themselves
physically, spiritually, and emotionally on this day of rest.
 sn The expression “the finger of God” has come up before
in the book, in the plagues (Exod 8:15) to express that itwas 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.
The Sin of the Golden Calf
3:1 When the people saw that Moses de-
layed in coming down0 from themountain, they
gathered aroundAaron and said to him, “Get up,
make us gods that will go before us. As for this
fellow Moses, the man who brought us up from
the land of Egypt, we do not know what has be-
come of him!”
3:SoAaron said to them, “Break off the gold
earrings that are on the ears of your wives, your
sons, and your daughters, and bring them tome.”
 sn This narrative is an unhappy interlude in the flow of the
argument of the book. After the giving of the Law and the in-
structions for the tabernacle, the people get into idolatry. So
this section tells what the people were doing when Moses
was on the mountain. Here is an instant violation of the cov-
enant that they had just agreed to uphold. But through it all
Moses shines as the great intercessor for the people. So the
subject matter is the sin of idolatry, its effects and its rem-
edy. Because of the similarities to Jeroboam’s setting up the
calves in Dan and Bethel, modern critics have often said this
passage was written at that time. U. Cassuto shows how the
language of this chapter would not fit an Iron Age setting in
Dan. Rather, he argues, this story was well enough known for
Jeroboam to imitate the practice (Exodus, 407-10). This chap-
ter can be divided into four parts for an easier exposition:
idolatry (32:1-6), intercession (32:7-14), judgment (32:15-
29), intercession again (32:30-33:6). Of course, these sec-
tions are far more complex than this, but this gives an over-
view. Four summary statements for expository points might
be: I. Impatience often leads to foolish violations of the faith,
II. Violations of the covenant require intercession to escape
condemnation, III. Those spared of divine wrath must purge
evil from their midst, and IV. Those who purge evil from their
midst will find reinstatement through intercession. Several
important studies are available for this. See, among others,
D. R. Davis, “Rebellion, Presence, and Covenant: A Study in
Exodus 32-34,” WTJ 44 (1982): 71-87; M. Greenberg, “Mo-
ses’ Intercessory Prayer,” Ecumenical Institute for Advanced
Theological Studies (1978): 21-35; R. A. Hamer, “The New
Covenant of Moses,” Judaism 27 (1978): 345-50; R. L. Hon-
eycutt, Jr., “Aaron, the Priesthood, and the Golden Calf,” Rev-
Exp 74 (1977): 523-35; J. N. Oswalt, “The Golden Calves and
the Egyptian Concept of Deity,” EvQ 45 (1973): 13-20.
 tn The meaning of this verb is properly “caused shame,”
meaning cause disappointment because he was not coming
back (see also Judg 5:28 for the delay of Sisera’s chariots [S.
R. Driver, Exodus, 349]).
0 tn The infinitive construct with the lamed (ל) preposition
is used here epexegetically, explaining the delay ofMoses.
 tn Heb “the people.”
 tn The imperativemeans “arise.” It could be serving here
as an interjection, getting Aaron’s attention. But it might also
have the force of prompting him to get busy.
 tn The plural translation is required here (although the
form itself could be singular in meaning) because the verb
that follows in the relative clause is a plural verb – that they
go before us).
 tn The text has “this Moses.” But this instance may find
the demonstrative used in an earlier deictic sense, especially
since there is no article with it.
 tn The interrogative is used in an indirect question (see
GKC 443-44 §137.c).
 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 937-38) argues that Aaron simply
did not have the resolution that Moses did, and wanting to
keep peace he gave in to the crowd. He also tries to explain
that Aaron was wanting to show their folly through the deed.
U. Cassuto also says that Aaron’s request for the gold was a
form of procrastination, but that the people quickly did it and
so he had no alternative but to go through with it (Exodus,
412). These may be right, since Aaron fully understood what
was wrong with this, and what the program was all about.
The text gives no strong indication to support these ideas,
exodus 31:15 08
3:3 So all the people broke off the gold earrings
that were on their ears and brought them toAaron.
3:4He accepted the gold from them, fashioned
it with an engraving tool, andmade amolten calf.
Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel,
who brought you up out of Egypt.”
3:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar
before it, and Aaron made a proclamation0 and
said, “Tomorrow will be a feast to the Lord.”
3:6 So they got up early on the next day and of-
fered up burnt offerings and brought peace offer-
ings, and the people sat down to eat and drink,
and they rose up to play.
but there are enough hints from the way Aaron does things to
warrant such a conclusion.
 tn This “all” is a natural hyperbole in the narrative, for it
means the largemajority of the people.
 tn Here “the gold” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “from their hand.”
 tn The verb looks similar to ר ַצ ָי (yatsar), “to form, fashion”
by a plan or a design. That is the verb used in Gen 2:7 for
Yahweh God forming the man from the dust of the ground. If
it is here, it is the reverse, a human – the dust of the ground
– trying to form a god or gods. The active participle of this
verb in Hebrew is “the potter.” A related noun is the word ר ֶ ּצ ֵי
(yetser), “evil inclination,” the wicked designs or intent of the
human heart (Gen 6:5). But see the discussion by B. S. Childs
(Exodus [OTL], 555-56) on a different reading, one that links
the root to a hollow verbmeaning “to cast out ofmetal” (as in
1 Kgs 7:15).
 sn The wordmeans a “young bull” and need not be trans-
lated as “calf” (although “calf” has become the traditional
rendering in English). The word could describe an animal
three years old. Aaron probably made an inner structure of
wood and then, after melting down the gold, plated it. The
verb “molten” does not need to imply that the image was
solid gold; the word is used in Isa 30:22 for gold plating. So it
was a young bull calf that was overlaid with gold, and the gold
was fashioned with the stylus.
 tn The word could be singular here and earlier; here it
would then be “this is your god, O Israel.” However, the use
of “these” indicatesmore than one god wasmeant by the im-
age. But their statement and their statue, although they do
not use the holy name, violate the first two commandments.
 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is subordinat-
ed as a temporal clause to the next preterite.
 tn The word “this” has been supplied.
 tn “Before it” means before the deity in the form of the
calf. Aaron tried to redirect their worship to Yahweh, but the
people had already broken down the barrier and were beyond
control (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 413).
0 tn Heb “called.”
 sn The word is ג ַח (khag), the pilgrim’s festival. This was
the word used by Moses for their pilgrimage into the wilder-
ness. Aaron seems here to be trying to do what Moses had
intended they do, make a feast to Yahweh at Sinai, but his
efforts will not compete with the idol. As B. Jacob says, Aaron
saw all this happening and tried to rescue the true belief (Exo-
dus, 941).
 tn The second infinitive is an infinitive absolute. The first
is an infinitive construct with a lamed (ל) preposition, express-
ing the purpose of their sitting down. The infinitive absolute
that follows cannot take the preposition, but with the con-
junction follows the force of the form before it (see GKC 340
 tn The form is ק ֵח ַצ ְל (lÿtsakheq), a Piel infinitive construct,
giving the purpose of their rising up after the festal meal. On
the surface it would seem that with the festival there would
be singing and dancing, so that the people were celebrating
even though they did not know the reason. W. C. Kaiser says
the word means “drunken immoral orgies and sexual play”
(“Exodus,” EBC 2:478). That is quite an assumption for this
word, but is reflected in some recent English versions (e.g.,
3:7 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go quick-
ly, descend, because your people, whom you
brought up from the land of Egypt, have acted cor-
ruptly. 3:8 They have quickly turned aside from
the way that I commanded them – they havemade
for themselves a molten calf and have bowed
down to it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are
your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from
the land of Egypt.’”
3:9 Then the Lord said to Moses: “I have
seen this people. Look what a stiff-necked
people they are! 3:10 So now, leave me
alone0 so that my anger can burn against them
NCV “got up and sinned sexually”; TEV “an orgy of drinking
and sex”). The word means “to play, trifle.” It can have other
meanings, depending on its contexts. It is used of Lotwhen he
warned his sons-in-law and appeared as one who “mocked”
them; it is also used of Ishmael “playing” with Isaac, which
Paul interprets as mocking; it is used of Isaac “playing” with
his wife in a manner that revealed to Abimelech that they
were not brother and sister, and it is used by Potiphar’s wife to
say that her husband brought this slave Joseph in to “mock”
them. The most that can be gathered from these is that it is
playful teasing, serious mocking, or playful caresses. It might
fit with wild orgies, but there is no indication of that in this
passage, and the word does not mean it. The fact that they
were festive and playing before an idol was sufficient.
 tn The two imperatives could also express one idea: “get
down there.” In other words, “Make haste to get down.”
 sn By giving the people toMoses in thisway,God is saying
that they have no longer any right to claim him as their God,
since they have shared his honor with another. This is God’s
talionic response to their “These are your gods who brought
you up.” The use of these pronoun changes also would form
an appeal to Moses to respond, since Moses knew that God
had brought them up from Egypt.
 tn The verb is a perfect tense, reflecting the present per-
fect nuance: “they have turned aside” and are still disobedi-
ent. But the verb ismodified with the adverb “quickly” (actual-
ly a Piel infinitive absolute). It has been only amatter of weeks
since they heard the voice of God prohibiting this.
 sn This is a bold anthropomorphism; it is as if God has
now had a chance to get to know these people and has dis-
covered how rebellious they are. The point of the figure is that
there has been discernible evidence of their nature.
 tn Heb “and behold” or “and look.” The expression di-
rects attention in order to persuade the hearer.
 sn B. Jacob says the image is that of the people walk-
ing before God, and when he called to them the directions,
they would not bend their neck to listen; they were resolute in
doing what they intended to do (Exodus, 943). The figure de-
scribes them as refusing to submit, but resisting in pride.
0 tn The imperative, from the word “to rest” ( ַח ּונ, nuakh),
has the sense of “leave me alone, let me be.” It is a directive
for Moses not to intercede for the people. B. S. Childs (Exo-
dus [OTL], 567) reflects the Jewish interpretation that there
is a profound paradox in God’s words. He vows the severest
punishment but then suddenly conditions it onMoses’ agree-
ment. “Let me alone that I may consume them” is the state-
ment, but the effect is that he has left the door open for inter-
cession. He allows himself to be persuaded – that is what a
mediator is for. God could have slammed the door (as when
Moses wanted to go into the promised land). Moreover, by al-
luding to the promise to Abraham God gave Moses the stron-
gest reason to intercede.
09 exodus 3:10
and I can destroy them, and I will make from you
a great nation.”
3:11 ButMoses sought the favor of the Lord
his God and said, “O Lord, why does your anger
burn against your people, whom you have brought
out from the land of Egypt with great power and
with a mighty hand? 3:1Why should the Egyp-
tians say, ‘For evil he led them out to kill them in
the mountains and to destroy them from the face
of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger, and
relent of this evil against your people. 3:13 Re-
memberAbraham, Isaac, and Israel your servants,
to whom you swore by yourself and told them, ‘I
will multiply your descendants like the stars of
heaven, and all this land that I have spoken about
I will give to your descendants, and they will
inherit it forever.’” 3:14 Then the Lord relented
over the evil that he had said he would do to his
3:15 Moses turned and went down from the
mountain with0 the two tablets of the testimony
in his hands. The tablets were written on both
sides – they were written on the front and on the
 tn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 351) draws on Arabic to show that
the meaning of this verb (ה ָל ָח, khalah) was properly “make
sweet the face” or “stroke the face”; so here “to entreat, seek
to conciliate.” In this prayer, Driver adds, Moses urges four
motives formercy: 1) Israel is Yahweh’s people, 2) Israel’s de-
liverance has demanded great power, 3) the Egyptians would
mock if the people now perished, and 4) the oath God made
to the fathers.
 tn The question is rhetorical; it really forms an affirmation
that is used here as a reason for the request (see GKC 474
 tn Heb “speak, saying.” This is redundant in English and
has been simplified in the translation.
 tn The word “evil” means any kind of life-threatening or
fatal calamity. “Evil” is that which hinders life, interrupts life,
causes pain to life, or destroys it. The Egyptians would con-
clude that such a God would have no good intent in taking his
people to the desert if now he destroyed them.
 tn The form is a Piel infinitive construct from ה ָל ָ ּכ (kalah,
“to complete, finish”) but in this stem, “bring to an end, de-
stroy.” As a purpose infinitive this expresses what the Egyp-
tians would have thought of God’smotive.
 tn The verb “repent, relent” when used of God is certainly
an anthropomorphism. It expresses the deep pain that one
would have over a situation. Earlier God repented that he had
made humans (Gen 6:6). Here Moses is asking God to re-
pent/relent over the judgment he was about to bring, mean-
ing that he should be moved by such compassion that there
would be no judgment like that. J. P. Hyatt observes that the
Bible uses so many anthropomorphisms because the Isra-
elites conceived of God as a dynamic and living person in a
vital relationship with people, responding to their needs and
attitudes and actions (Exodus [NCBC], 307). See H. V. D. Pa-
runak, “A Semantic Survey of NHM,” Bib 56 (1975): 512-32.
 tn Heb “your seed.”
 tn “about” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “seed.”
0 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) serves here as a circumstantial
clause indicator.
back. 3:16Now the tablets were the work of God,
and the writing was the writing of God, engraved
on the tablets. 3:17When Joshua heard the noise
of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses,
“It is the sound ofwar in the camp!” 3:18Moses
said, “It is not the sound of those who shout for
victory, nor is it the sound of those who cry be-
cause they are overcome, but the sound of sing-
ing I hear.”
3:19When he approached the camp and saw
the calf and the dancing,Moses became extremely
angry. He threw the tablets from his hands and
broke them to pieces at the bottom of the moun-
tain. 3:0 He took the calf they had made and
burned it in the fire, ground it to powder, poured
it out on the water, and made the Israelites drink
3:1 Moses said to Aaron, “What did this
people do to you, that you have brought on them
so great a sin?” 3:Aaron said, “Do not let your
anger burn hot, my lord; you know these peo-
ple, that they tend to evil. 3:3 They said to me,
‘Make us gods thatwill go before us, for as for this
fellow Moses, the man who brought us up out of
the land of Egypt, we do not know what has hap-
pened to him.’ 3:4 So I said to them, ‘Whoever
has gold, break it off.’So they gave it to me, and
I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”
3:5 Moses saw that the people were run-
ning wild, for Aaron had let them get com-
 sn See F. C. Fensham, “New Light from Ugaritica V on Ex,
32:17 (br’h),” JNSL 2 (1972): 86-7.
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “the sound of the answering of might,” meaning
it is not the sound of shouting in victory (U. Cassuto, Exodus,
 tn Heb “the sound of the answering ofweakness,”mean-
ing the cry of the defeated (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 415).
 tn Heb “answering in song” (a play on the twofoldmean-
ing of the word).
 sn See A. Newman, “Compositional Analysis and Func-
tional Ambiguity Equivalence: Translating Exodus 32, 17-18,”
Babel 21 (1975): 29-35.
 tn Heb “and the anger ofMoses burned hot.”
 sn See N. M. Waldham, “The Breaking of the Tablets,”
Judaism 27 (1978): 442-47.
 tn Here “it” has been supplied.
0 tn Here “it” has been supplied.
sn Pouring the ashes into the water running from themoun-
tain in the brook (Deut 9:21) and making them drink it was
a type of the bitter water test that tested the wife suspected
of unfaithfulness. Here the reaction of the people who drank
would indicate guilt or not (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 419).
 sn “My lord” refers toMoses.
 tn Heb “that on evil it is.”
 tn Here “it” has been supplied.
 sn Aaron first tried to blame the people, and then he
tried tomake it sound like amiracle – was it to sound like one
of the plagues where out of the furnace came life? This text
does not mention it, but Deut 9:20 tells how angry God was
with Aaron. Only intercession saved his life.
 tn The word is difficult to interpret. There does not seem
to be enough evidence to justify the KJV’s translation “na-
ked.” It appears to mean something like “let loose” or “lack
restraint” (Prov 29:18). The idea seems to be that the people
had broken loose, were undisciplined, and were completely
given over to their desires.
exodus 3:11 10
pletely out of control, causing derision from their
enemies. 3:6 So Moses stood at the entrance
of the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord,
come to me.” All the Levites gathered around
him, 3:7 and he said to them, “Thus says the
Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Each man fasten his
sword on his side, and go back and forth from
entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and
each one kill his brother, his friend, and his neigh-
3:8 The Levites did what Moses ordered,
and that day about three thousand men of the
people died. 3:9 Moses said, “You have been
consecrated 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.”0
3:30 The next dayMoses said to the people,
“You have committed a very serious sin, but
now I will go up to the Lord – perhaps I can make
atonement on behalf of your sin.”
3:31 So Moses returned to the Lord and
said, “Alas, this people has committed a very
 tn The last two words of the verse read literally “for a whis-
pering among those who rose up against them.” The foes
would have mocked and derided them when they heard that
they had abandoned the God who had led them out of Egypt
(S. R. Driver, Exodus, 354).
 tn “come” is not in the text, but has been supplied.
 tn S. R. Driver suggests that the command was tersely
put: “Who is for Yahweh? Tome!” (Exodus, 354).
 tn Heb “put.”
 tn The two imperatives form a verbal hendiadys: “pass
over and return,” meaning, “go back and forth” throughout
the camp.
 tn The phrases have “and kill a man his brother, and a
man his companion, and a man his neighbor.” The instruc-
tions were probably intended to mean that they should kill
leaders they knew to be guilty because they had been seen or
because they failed the water test – whoever they were.
 tn Heb “did according to the word ofMoses.”
 tn Heb “fell.”
 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 sac-
rifice 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 ex-
pressionmeant 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.
0 tn The text simply has “and to give on you today a bless-
ing.” Gesenius notes that the infinitive construct seems to be
attached with a vav (ו; like the infinitive absolute) as the con-
tinuation of a previous finite verb. He reads the verb “fill” as
an imperative: “fill your hand today…and that to bring a bless-
ing on you, i.e., that youmay 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.”
 tn Heb “and it was on themorrow andMoses said to the
 tn The text uses a cognate accusative: “you have sinned
a great sin.”
 tn The form ה ָר ְ ּפ ַכ ֲא (’akhappÿrah) is a Piel cohortative/im-
perfect. Here with only a possibility of being successful, a po-
tential imperfect nuance works best.
serious sin, and they have made for themselves
gods of gold. 3:3 But now, if you will forgive
their sin…, but if not, wipe me out from your
book that you have written.” 3:33The Lord said
to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me – that
person I will wipe out of my book. 3:34 So now
go, lead the people to the place I have spoken to
you about. See,my angelwill go before you. But
on the day that I punish, I will indeed punish them
for their sin.”
3:35And the Lord sent a plague on the people
because they had made the calf0 – the one Aaron
33:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Go up from
here, you and the people whom you brought
up out of the land of Egypt, to the land I prom-
ised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Ja-
cob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’
33: I will send an angel before you, and I will
 tn As before, the cognate accusative is used; it would lit-
erally be “this people has sinned a great sin.”
 tn The apodosis is not expressed; it would be understood
as “good.” It is not stated because of the intensity of the ex-
pression (the figure is aposiopesis, a sudden silence). It is
also possible to take this first clause as a desire and not a
conditional clause, rendering it “Oh that you would forgive!”
 tn The word “wipe” is a figure of speech indicating “re-
moveme” (meaning he wants to die). The translation “blot” is
traditional, but not very satisfactory, since it does not convey
complete removal.
 sn The book that is referred to here should not be inter-
preted as the NT “book of life” which is portrayed (figuratively)
as a register of all the names of the saints who are redeemed
and will inherit eternal life. Here it refers to the names of
those who are living and serving in this life, whose names,
it was imagined, were on the roster in the heavenly courts as
belonging to the chosen. Moses would rather die than live if
these people are not forgiven (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 356).
 tn Heb “behold, look.” Moses should take this fact into
 sn The Law said that God would not clear the guilty. But
here the punishment is postponed to some future date when
he would revisit this matter. Others have taken the line to
mean that whenever a reckoning was considered necessary,
then this sin would be included (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 957).
The repetition of the verb traditionally rendered “visit” in both
clauses puts emphasis on the certainty – so “indeed.”
0 tn The verse is difficult because of the double reference
to the making of the calf. The NJPS’s translation tries to rec-
oncile the two by reading “for what they did with the calf that
Aaron hadmade.” B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 557) explains in
some detail why this is not a good translation based on syn-
tactical grounds; he opts for the conclusion that the last three
words are a clumsy secondary addition. It seems preferable
to take the view that both are true, Aaron is singled out for his
obvious lead in the sin, but the people sinned by instigating
the whole thing.
 sn Most commentators have difficulty with this verse. W.
C. Kaiser says the strict chronology is not always kept, and so
the plague here may very well refer to the killing of the three
thousand (“Exodus,” EBC 2:481).
 tn The two imperatives underscore the immediacy of the
demand: “go, go up,” meaning “get going up” or “be on your
 tn Or “the land which I swore.”
 tn Heb “seed.”
 sn This seems not to be the same as the Angel of the
Presence introduced before.
11 exodus 33:
drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite,
the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 33:3Go
up to a land flowing with milk and honey. But
I will not go up among you, for you are a stiff-
necked people, and I might destroy you on the
33:4 When the people heard this troubling
word theymourned; no one put on his ornaments.
33:5 For the Lord had said toMoses, “Tell the Is-
raelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I went
up among you for amoment, Imight destroy you.
Now take off your ornaments, that I may know0
what I should do to you.’” 33:6 So the Israelites
stripped off their ornaments byMount Horeb.
The Presence of the Lord
33:7 Moses took the tent and pitched it
 sn See T. Ishida, “The Structure and Historical Implica-
tions of Lists of Pre-Israelite Nations,” Bib (1979): 461-90.
 tn This verse seems to be a continuation of the command
to “go up” since it begins with “to a land….” The intervening
clauses are therefore parenthetical or relative. But the trans-
lation ismade simpler by supplying the verb.
 tn This is a strong adversative here, “but.”
 tn The clause is “lest I consume you.” It would go with the
decision not to accompany them: “I will not go up with you…
lest I consume (destroy) you in the way.” The verse is saying
that because of the people’s bent to rebellion, Yahweh would
not remain in theirmidst as he had formerly said hewould do.
Their lives would be at risk if he did.
 tn Or “bad news” (NAB, NCV).
 sn The people would rather have risked divine discipline
than to go without Yahweh in their midst. So they mourned,
and they took off the ornaments. Such had been used in
making the golden calf, and so because of their association
with all of that they were to be removed as a sign of remorse.
 tn The verse simply begins “And Yahweh said.” But it is
clearly meant to be explanatory for the preceding action of
the people.
 tn The construction is formed with a simple imperfect in
the first half and a perfect tense with vav (ו) in the second
half. Heb “[in] onemoment I will go up in yourmidst and I will
destroy you.” The verse is certainly not intended to say that
God was about to destroy them. That, plus the fact that he
has announced he will not go in their midst, leads most com-
mentators to take this as a conditional clause: “If I were to do
such and such, then….”
 tn The Hebrew text also has “from on you.”
0 tn The form is the cohortative with a vav (ו) following the
imperative; it therefore expresses the purpose or result: “strip
off…that Imay know.” The call to remove the ornamentsmust
have been perceived as a call to show true repentance for
what had happened. If they repented, then God would know
how to deal with them.
 tn This last clause begins with the interrogative “what,”
but it is used here as an indirect interrogative. It introduces a
noun clause, the object of the verb “know.”
 sn This unit of the book could actually include all of chap.
33, starting with the point of the Lord’s withdrawal from the
people. If that section is not part of the exposition, it would
have to be explained as the background. The point is that sin-
fulness prevents the active presence of the Lord leading his
people. But then the rest of chap. 33 forms the development.
In vv. 7-11 there is the gracious provision: the Lord reveals
through his faithfulmediator. The Lordwas leading his people,
but nowmore remotely because of their sin. Then, in vv.12-17.
Moses intercedes for the people, and the intercession of the
mediator guarantees the Lord’s presence. The point of all of
this is that God wanted the people to come to know that if he
was not with them they should not go. Finally, the presence
of the Lord is verified to the mediator by a special revelation
outside the camp, at a good distance from the
camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. Any-
one seeking theLordwould go out to the tent of
meeting that was outside the camp.
33:8AndwhenMoseswent out to the tent, all
the peoplewould get up and stand at the entrance
tent. 33:9AndwheneverMoses entered the tent,
the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the
entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak
withMoses. 33:10When all the peoplewould see
the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the
tent, all the people, each one at the entrance of his
own tent,would rise andworship. 33:11TheLord
(18-23). The point of the whole chapter is that by his grace
the Lord renews the promise of his presence by special rev-
 tn Heb “andMoses took.”
 sn A widespread contemporary view is that this section
represents a source that thought the tent of meeting was al-
ready erected (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 359). But the better
view is that this is a temporary tent used formeeting the Lord.
U. Cassuto explains this view very well (Exodus, 429-30),
namely, that because the building of the tabernacle was now
in doubt if the Lord was not going to be in theirmidst, another
plan seemed necessary. Moses took this tent, his tent, and
put some distance between the camp and it. Here he would
use the tent as the place to meet God, calling it by the same
name since it was a surrogate tent. Thus, the entire section
was a temporary means of meeting God, until the current
wrath was past.
 tn The infinitive absolute is used here as an adverb (see
GKC 341 §113.h).
 tn The clause begins with “and it was,” the perfect tense
with the vav conjunction. The imperfect tenses in this section
are customary, describing what used to happen (others de-
scribe the verbs as frequentative). See GKC 315 §107.e.
 tn The form is the Piel participle. The seeking here would
indicate seeking an oracle from Yahweh or seeking to find a
resolution for some difficulty (as in 2 Sam 21:1) or even per-
haps coming with a sacrifice. B. Jacob notes that the tent was
even here a place of prayer, for the benefit of the people (Exo-
dus, 961). It is not known how long this location was used.
 tn The clause is introduced again with “and it was.” The
perfect tense here with the vav (ו) is used to continue the se-
quence of actions that were done repeatedly in the past (see
GKC 331-32 §112.e). The temporal clause is then formed
with the infinitive construct of א ָצ ָי (yatsa’), with “Moses” as the
subjective genitive: “and it was according to the going out of
 tn Or “rise up.”
0 tn The subject of this verb is specified with the individual-
izing use of “man”: “and all Israel would station themselves,
each person (man) at the entrance to his tent.”
 tn The perfect tense with the vav (ו) continues the se-
quence of the customary imperfect. The people “would gaze”
(after)Moses until he entered the tent.
 tn This is a temporal clause using an infinitive construct
with a suffixed subject.
 tn Heb “and it was when.”
 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the Lord) has been speci-
fied in the translation for clarity.
 tn Both verbs, “stand” and “speak,” are perfect tenses
with vav (ו) consecutive.
 tn All themain verbs in this verse are perfect tenses con-
tinuing the customary sequence (see GKC 337 §112.kk). The
idea is that the people would get up (rise) when the cloud was
there and thenworship,meaning in part bow down.When the
cloud was not there, there was access to seek God.
exodus 33:3 1
would speak toMoses face to face, the way a per-
son speaks to a friend. ThenMoses would return
to the camp, but his servant, Joshua son of Nun, a
young man, did not leave the tent.
33:1 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have
been saying tome, ‘Bring this people up,’ but you
have not let me know whom you will send with
me. But you said, ‘I know you by name, and also
you have found favor in my sight.’ 33:13 Now if
I have found favor in your sight, show me your
way, that I may know you, that I may continue to
find favor in your sight.And see0 that this nation
is your people.”
33:14 And the Lord said, “My presence
will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
 tn “Face to face” is circumstantial to the action of the
verb, explaining how they spoke (see GKC 489-90 §156.c).
The point of this note of friendly relationship with Moses is
thatMoses was “at home” in this tent speaking with God.Mo-
ses would derive courage from this when he interceded for
the people (B. Jacob, Exodus, 966).
 tn The verb in this clause is a progressive imperfect.
 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
 sn Moses did not live in the tent. But Joshua remained
there most of the time to guard the tent, it seems, lest any of
the people approach it out of curiosity.
 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.
 tn That is, “chosen you.”
 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 deal-
ings with people, especially after all that has happened in the
preceding chapter.
 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 under-
stand what your nature and character is, and shape my peti-
tions accordingly, so that I may find grace in your sight, and
my future prayersmay be answered (Exodus, 361).
 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.
0 tn The verb “see” (an imperative) is a request for God to
acknowledge Israel as his people by providing the divine lead-
ership needed. So his main appeal will be for the people and
not himself. To underscore this, he repeats “see” the way the
section opened.
 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (the Lord) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn Heb “my face.” This represents the presence of Yah-
weh going with the people (see 2 Sam 17:11 for an illustra-
tion). The “presence” probably refers to the angel of the pres-
ence or some similar manifestation of God’s leading and car-
ing for his people.
 tn The phrase “with you” is not in the Hebrew text, but
is implied.
 sn The expression certainly refers to the peace of mind
and security of knowing that God was with them. But the ex-
pression 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 transi-
tion through intercession.
33:15And Moses said to him, “If your pres-
ence does not go with us, do not take us up
from here. 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?”
33:17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will do this
thing also that you have requested, for you have
found favor in my sight, and I know0 you by
33:18 And Moses said, “Show me your
33:19 And the Lord said, “I will make
all my goodness pass before your face, and
I will proclaim the Lord by name before you;
I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, I
will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.”
 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Moses) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 tn The construction uses the active participle to stress
the continual going of the presence: if there is not your face
 tn “with us” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “from this.”
 sn See W. Brueggemann, “The Crisis and Promise of
Presence in Israel,” HBT 1 (1979): 47-86; and N. M. Wald-
man, “God’s Ways – A Comparative Note,” JQR 70 (1979):
0 tn The verb in this place is a preterite with the vav (ו)
consecutive, judging from the pointing. It then follows in se-
quence the verb “you have found favor,” meaning you stand
in that favor, and so it means “I have known you” and still do
(equal to the present perfect). The emphasis, however, is on
the results of the action, and so “I know you.”
 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Moses) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn Moses now wanted to see the glory of Yahweh, more
than what he had already seen and experienced. He want-
ed to see God in all his majesty. The LXX chose to translate
this without a word for “glory” or “honor”; instead they used
the pronoun seautou, “yourself” – show me the real You.
God tells him that he cannot see it fully, but in part. It will be
enough for Moses to disclose to him the reality of the divine
presence as well as God’s moral nature. It would be impos-
sible for Moses to comprehend all of the nature of God, for
there is a boundary between God and man. But God would
let him see his goodness, the sum of his nature, pass by in
a flash. B. Jacob (Exodus, 972) says that the glory refers to
God’s majesty, might, and glory, as manifested in nature, in
his providence, his laws, and his judgments. He adds that this
glory should and would bemade visible toman – that was its
purpose in the world.
 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (the Lord) has been
specified in the translation for clarity.
 sn The word “goodness” refers to the divine appearance
in summary fashion.
 tn The expression “make proclamation in the name of
Yahweh” (here a perfect tense with vav [ו] consecutive for fu-
ture) means to declare, reveal, or otherwise make proclama-
tion of who Yahweh is. The “name of Yahweh” (rendered “the
name of the Lord” throughout) refers to his divine attributes
revealed to his people, either in word or deed. What will be
focused on first will be his grace and compassion.
 sn God declares his mercy and grace in similar terms
to his earlier self-revelation (“I am that I am”): “I will be gra-
cious to whom I will be gracious.” In other words, the grace
and mercy of God are bound up in his own will. Obviously, in
this passage the recipients of that favor are the penitent Is-
raelites who were forgiven through Moses’ intercession. The
two words are at the heart of God’s dealings with people. The
13 exodus 33:19
33:0 But he added, “You cannot see my face, for
no one can seeme and live.” 33:1The Lord said,
“Here is a place by me; you will station yourself
on a rock. 33:When my glory passes by, I will
put you in a cleft in the rock and will cover you
with my hand while I pass by. 33:3 Then I will
take away my hand, and you will see my back,
but my face must not be seen.”
first is ן ַנ ָח (khanan, “to be gracious, show favor”). It means to
grant favor or grace to someone, grace meaning unmerited
favor. All of God’s dealings are gracious, but especially in for-
giving sins and granting salvation it is critical. Parallel to this
is ם ַח ָר (rakham), a word that means “show compassion, ten-
der mercy.” It is a word that is related to the noun “womb,”
the connection being in providing care and protection for that
which is helpless and dependent – amotherly quality. In both
of these constructions the verbs simply express what God will
do,without explainingwhy. See further, J. R. Lundbom, “God’s
Use of the Idem per idem to Terminate Debate,” HTR 71
(1978): 193-201; and J. Piper, “Prolegomena to Understand-
ing Romans 9:14-15: An Interpretation of Exodus 33:19,”
JETS 22 (1979): 203-16.
 tn In view of the use of the verb “can, be able to” in the
first clause, this imperfect tense is given a potential nuance.
 tn Gesenius notes that sometimes a negative statement
takes the place of a conditional clause; here it is equal to “if a
man seesme he does not live” (GKC 498 § The other
passages that teach this are Gen 32:30; Deut 4:33, 5:24, 26;
Judg 6:22, 13:22, and Isa 6:5.
 tn The deictic particle is used here simply to call attention
to a place of God’s knowing and choosing.
 tn Heb “and you will,” or interpretively, “where you will.”
 sn Note the use in Exod 40:3, “and you will screen the
ark with the curtain.” The glory is covered, veiled from being
 tn The circumstantial clause is simply, “my hand [being]
over you.” This protecting hand of Yahweh represents a fairly
common theme in the Bible.
 tn The construction has a preposition with an infinitive
construct and a suffix: “while [or until] I pass by” (Heb “in the
passing by ofme”).
 tn The plural “my backs” is according to Gesenius an ex-
tension plural (compare “face,” a dual in Hebrew). The word
denotes a locality in general, but that is composed of numer-
ous parts (see GKC 397 §124.b).W. C. Kaiser says that since
God is a spirit, the meaning of this word could just as easily
be rendered “after effects” of his presence (“Exodus,” EBC
2:484). As S. R. Driver says, though, while this may indicate
just the “afterglow” that he leaves behind him, it was enough
to suggest what the full brilliancy of his presencemust be (Ex-
odus, 363; see also Job 26:14).
 tn The Niphal imperfect could simply be rendered “will not
be seen,” but given the emphasis of the preceding verses, it
ismore binding than that, and so a negated obligatory imper-
fect fits better: “it must not be seen.” It would also be pos-
sible to render it with a potential imperfect tense: “it cannot
be seen.”
The New Tablets of the Covenant
34:10 The Lord said toMoses, “Cut out two
tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on
the tablets the words that were on the first tablets,
which you smashed. 34: Be prepared in the
morning, and go up in the morning to Mount Si-
nai, and station yourself for me there on the top
of the mountain. 34:3 No one is to come up with
you; do not let anyone be seen anywhere on the
mountain; not even the flocks or the herds may
graze in front of that mountain.” 34:4 So Moses
cut out two tablets of stone like the first; early in
the morning he went up to Mount Sinai, just as
the Lord had commanded him, and he took in his
hand the two tablets of stone.
0 sn The restoration of the faltering community continues
in this chapter. First, Moses is instructed to make new tab-
lets and take them to the mountain (1-4). Then, through the
promised theophany God proclaims hismoral character (5-7).
Moses responds with the reiteration of the intercession (8-9),
and God responds with the renewal of the covenant (10-28).
To put these into expository form, as principles, the chapter
would run as follows: I. God provides for spiritual renewal (1-
4), II. God reminds people of hismoral standard (5-9), III. God
renews his covenant promises and stipulations (10-28).
 tn The imperative is followed by the preposition with a
suffix expressing the ethical dative; it strengthens the instruc-
tion for Moses. Interestingly, the verb “cut out, chisel, hew,”
is the same verb from which the word for a “graven image” is
derived – ל ַס ָ ּפ (pasal).
 tn The perfect tense with vav consecutivemakes the val-
ue of this verb equal to an imperfect tense, probably a simple
future here.
sn Nothing is said of how God was going to write on these
stone tablets at this point, but in the end it is Moses who
wrote the words. This is not considered a contradiction, since
God is often credited with things he has people do in his
place. There is great symbolism in this command – if ever a
command said far more than it actually said, this is it. The in-
structionmeans that the covenant had been renewed, or was
going to be renewed, and that the sanctuary with the tablets
in the ark at its center would be built (see Deut 10:1). The first
time Moses went up he was empty-handed; when he came
down he smashed the tablets because of the Israelites’ sin.
Now the people would see him go up with empty tablets and
be uncertain whether he would come back with the tablets
inscribed again (B. Jacob, Exodus, 977-78).
 tn The form is a Niphal participle that means “be pre-
pared, be ready.” This probably means that Moses was to do
in preparation what the congregation had to do back in Exod
 sn The same word is used in Exod 33:21. It is as ifMoses
was to be at his post when Yahweh wanted to communicate
to him.
 tn Heb “he”; the referent has been specified here and
the name “Moses,” which occurs later in this verse, has been
replaced with the pronoun (“he”), both for stylistic reasons.
 sn Deuteronomy says that Moses was also to make an
ark of acacia wood before the tablets, apparently to put the
tablets in until the sanctuary was built. But this ark may not
have been the ark built later; or, itmight be the wood box, but
Bezalel still had to do all the golden work with it.
 tn The line reads “andMoses got up early in themorning
and went up.” These verbs likely form a verbal hendiadys, the
first one with its prepositional phrase serving in an adverbial
exodus 33:0 14
34:5 The Lord descended in the cloud and
stood with him there and proclaimed the Lord
by name. 34:6 The Lord passed by before him
and proclaimed: “The Lord, the Lord, the com-
passionate and gracious God, slow to anger,
and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness,
34:7 keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving
iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no
means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to
the transgression of fathers by dealing with chil-
dren and children’s children, to the third and fourth
34:8Moses quickly bowed to the ground and
worshiped 34:9 and said, “If now I have found fa-
vor in your sight, O Lord, letmy Lord0 go among
us, for we are a stiff-necked people; pardon our
iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheri-
 tn Some commentaries wish to make Moses the subject
of the second and the third verbs, the first because he was
told to stand there and this verb suggests he did it, and the
last because it sounds like he was worshiping Yahweh (cf.
NASB). But it is clear from v. 6 that Yahweh was the subject
of the last clause of v. 5 – v. 6 tells how he did it. So if Yahweh
is the subject of the first and last clauses of v. 5, it seems
simpler that he also be the subject of the second.Moses took
his stand there, but God stood by him (B. Jacob, Exodus, 981;
U. Cassuto, Exodus, 439). There is no reason tomakeMoses
the subject in any of the verbs of v. 5.
 tn Here is one of the clearest examples of what it means
“to call on the name of the Lord,” as that clause has been
translated traditionally (ה ָוה ְי ם ֵשׁ ְב א ָר ְק ִ ּי ַו, vayyiqra’ vÿshem
yÿhvah). It seems more likely that it means “to make procla-
mation of Yahweh by name.” Yahweh came down and made
a proclamation – and the next verses give the content of what
he said. This cannot be prayer or praise; it is a proclamation
of the nature or attributes of God (which is what his “name”
means throughout the Bible). Attempts to make Moses the
subject of the verb are awkward, for the verb is repeated in v.
6 with Yahweh clearly doing the proclaiming.
 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 439) suggests that these two
names be written as a sentence: “Yahweh, He is Yahweh.” In
this manner it reflects “I am that I am.” It is impossible to de-
fine his name in any other way than to make this affirmation
and then show what itmeans.
 tn See Exod 33:19.
 sn This is literally “long of anger.” His anger prolongs itself,
allowing for people to repent before punishment is inflicted.
 sn These two words (“loyal love” and “truth”) are often
found together, occasionally in a hendiadys construction. If
that is the interpretation here, then it means “faithful cove-
nant love.” Even if they are left separate, they are dual ele-
ments of a single quality. The first word is God’s faithful cov-
enant love; the second word is God’s reliability and faithful-
 tn That is, “for thousands of generations.”
 sn As in the ten commandments (20:5-6), this expression
shows that the iniquity and its punishment will continue in the
family if left unchecked. This does not go on as long as the
outcomes for good (thousands versus third or fourth genera-
tions), and it is limited to those who hate God.
 tn The first two verbs form a hendiadys: “he hurried…he
bowed,”meaning “he quickly bowed down.”
0 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” two times here is
י ָנ ֹד ֲא (’adonay).
 tn Heb “it is.” Hebrew uses the third person masculine
singular pronoun here in agreement with the noun “people.”
34:10 He said, “See, I am going to make a
covenant before all your people. I will do wonders
such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in
any nation. All the people among whom you live
will see the work of the Lord, for it is a fearful
thing that I am doing with you.
34:11 “Obey what I am commanding you
this day. I am going to drive out before you the
Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite,
the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 34:1 Be careful not
to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the
land where you are going, lest it become a snare
among you. 34:13Rather youmust destroy their al-
tars, smash their images, and cut down their Ash-
erah poles. 34:14 For youmust not worship0 any
other god, for the Lord,whose name is Jealous,
is a jealous God. 34:15 Be careful not to make
a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for
when they prostitute themselves to their gods
 tn Here again is a use of the futur instans participle;
the deictic particle plus the pronoun precedes the participle,
showing what is about to happen.
 tn The verb here is א ָר ָ ּב (bara’, “to create”). The choice
of this verb is to stress that these wonders would be super-
naturally performed, for the verb is used only with God as the
 sn The idea is that God will be doing awesome things in
dealing with them, i.e., to fulfill his program.
 tn The covenant duties begin with this command to
“keep well” what is being commanded. The Hebrew expres-
sion is “keep for you”; the preposition and the suffix form the
ethical dative, adding strength to the imperative.
 tn Again, this is the futur instans use of the participle.
 tn The exact expression is “take heed to yourself lest you
make.” It is the second use of this verb in the duties, now in
the Niphal stem. To take heed to yourself means to watch
yourself, be sure not to do something. Here, if they failed to do
this, they would end upmaking entangling treaties.
 sn A snare would be a trap, an allurement to ruin. See
Exod 23:33.
 tn Or “images of Asherah”; ASV, NASB “their Asherim”;
NCV “their Asherah idols.”
sn Asherah was a leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon,
wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly
worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or,
failing that, at places marked by wooden poles. These were
to be burned or cut down (Deut 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28,
30; 2 Kgs 18:4).
0 tn Heb “bow down.”
 sn In Exod 20:3 it was “gods.”
 sn Here, too, the emphasis on God’s being a jealous God
is repeated (see Exod 20:5). The use of “name” here is to
stress that this is his nature, his character.
 tn The sentence begins simply “lest you make a cove-
nant”; it is undoubtedly a continuation of the imperative intro-
duced earlier, and so that is supplied here.
 tn The verb is a perfect with a vav consecutive. In the lit-
eral form of the sentence, this clause tells what might hap-
pen if the peoplemade a covenant with the inhabitants of the
land: “Take heed…lest you make a covenant…and then they
prostitute themselves…and sacrifice…and invite…and you
eat.” The sequence lays out an entire scenario.
 tn The verb ה ָנ ָז (zanah) means “to play the prostitute; to
commit whoredom; to be a harlot” or something similar. It is
used here and elsewhere in the Bible for departing from pure
religion and engaging in pagan religion. The use of the word
in this figurative sense is fitting, because the relationship be-
tween God and his people is pictured as a marriage, and to
be unfaithful to it was a sin. This is also why God is described
as a “jealous” or “impassioned” God. The figure may not be
merely a metaphorical use, but perhaps a metonymy, since
15 exodus 34:15
and sacrifice to their gods, and someone invites
you, you will eat from his sacrifice; 34:16 and you
then take his daughters for your sons, and when
his daughters prostitute themselves to their gods,
they will make your sons prostitute themselves to
their gods as well. 34:17You must not make your-
selves molten gods.
34:18 “Youmust keep the Feast of Unleavened
Bread. For seven days you must eat bread made
without yeast, as I commanded you; do this at
the appointed time of the month Abib, for in the
monthAbib you came out of Egypt.
34:19 “Every firstborn of the womb belongs
to me, even every firstborn of your cattle that is
a male, whether ox or sheep. 34:0 Now the first-
ling of a donkey you may redeem with a lamb,
but if you do not redeem it, then break its neck.
You must redeem all the firstborn of your sons.
34:1 “On six days you may labor, but on the
seventh day you must rest; even at the time of
plowing and of harvest you are to rest.
34: “You must observe the Feast of
Weeks – the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat
– and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the
year. 34:3 At three times in the year all your
men must appear before the Lord god, the
there actually was sexual immorality at the Canaanite altars
and poles.
 tn There is no subject for the verb. It could be rendered
“and one invites you,” or it could bemade a passive.
 tn In the construction this verb would follow as a possi-
ble outcome of the last event, and so remain in the verbal
sequence. If the people participate in the festivals of the land,
then they will intermarry, and that could lead to further in-
volvement with idolatry.
 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.
 tn The words “do this” have been supplied.
 tn Heb “everything that opens the womb.”
 tn Here too: everything that “opens [the womb].”
 tn The verb basicallymeans “that drops amale.” The verb
is feminine, referring to the cattle.
 tn Heb “and the one that opens [the womb of] the don-
 sn See G. Brin, “The Firstling of Unclean Animals,” JQR 68
(1971): 1-15.
0 tn The form is the adverb “empty.”
 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.
 tn Or “cease” (i.e., from the labors).
 sn See M. Dahood, “Vocative lamed in Exodus 2,4 and
Merismus in 34,21,” Bib 62 (1981): 413-15.
 tn The imperfect tense expresses injunction or instruc-
 tn The imperfect tensemeans “you will do”; it is followed
by the preposition with a suffix to express the ethical dative to
stress the subject.
 tn The expression is “the turn of the year,” which is paral-
lel to “the going out of the year,” and means the end of the
agricultural season.
 tn “Three times” is an adverbial accusative.
 tn Heb “all yourmales.”
 tn Here the divine name reads in Hebrew ה ָוה ְי ן ֹד ָא ָה
(ha’adon yÿhvah), which if rendered according to the tradition-
al scheme of “Lord” for “Yahweh” would result in “Lord Lord.”
A number of English versions therefore render this phrase
“Lord God,” and that convention has been followed here.
sn The title “Lord” is included here before the divine name
(translated “God” here; see Exod 23:17), perhaps to form a
contrast with Baal (which means “lord” as well) and to show
God of Israel. 34:4For Iwill drive out0 the nations
before you and enlarge your borders; no one will
covetyour landwhenyougoup toappearbefore
the Lord your God three times in the year.
34:5 “You must not offer the blood of my
sacrifice with yeast; the sacrifice from the feast
of Passover must not remain until the following
34:6 “The first of the firstfruits of your soil you
must bring to the house of the Lord your God.
You must not cook a young goat in its moth-
er’s milk.”
34:7 The Lord said to Moses, “Write down
these words, for in accordance with these words I
have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”
34:8 So he was there with the Lord forty days and
forty nights; he did not eat bread, and he did not
drink water. He wrote on the tablets the words of
the covenant, the ten commandments.
the sovereignty of Yahweh. But the distinct designation “the
God of Israel” is certainly the point of the renewed covenant
0 tn The verb is a Hiphil imperfect of שׁ ַר ָי (yarash), which
means “to possess.” In the causative stem it can mean “dis-
possess” or “drive out.”
 sn The verb “covet” means more than desire; it means
that some action will be taken to try to acquire the land that is
being coveted. It is one thing to envy someone for their land; it
is another to be consumed by the desire that stops at nothing
to get it (it, not something like it).
 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct with
a preposition and a suffixed subject to form the temporal
 tn The expression “three times” is an adverbial accusa-
tive of time.
 sn See M. Haran, “The Passover Sacrifice,” Studies in
the Religion of Ancient Israel (VTSup), 86-116.
 sn See the note on this same command in 23:19.
 tn Once again the preposition with the suffix follows the
imperative, adding some emphasis to the subject of the verb.
 tn These too are adverbial in relation to themain clause,
telling how longMoses was with Yahweh on themountain.
 tn Heb “the ten words,” though “commandments” is tra-
exodus 34:16 16
The Radiant Face of Moses
34:9 Now when Moses came down from
Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimo-
ny in his hand – when he came down from the
mountain,Moses did not know that the skin of his
face shone while he talked with him. 34:30When
Aaron and all the Israelites sawMoses, the skin of
his face shone; and they were afraid to approach
him. 34:31ButMoses called to them, soAaron and
all the leaders of the community came back to him,
and Moses spoke to them. 34:3 After this all the
Israelites approached, and he commanded them
all that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Si-
nai. 34:33 When Moses finished speaking0 with
them, he would put a veil on his face. 34:34 But
when Moses went in before the Lord to speak
with him, he would remove the veil until he came
 sn Now, at the culmination of the renewing of the cove-
nant, comes the account of Moses’ shining face. It is impor-
tant to read this in its context first, holding off on the connec-
tion to Paul’s discussion in 2 Corinthians. There is a delicate
balance here in Exodus. On the one handMoses’ 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 subdi-
vided 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 themessage (31-32). III. The authenti-
cation of themessagemust be used cautiously with the weak
and immature (33-35).
 tn The temporal clause is composed of the temporal indi-
cator (“and it happened”), followed by the temporal preposi-
tion, infinitive construct, and subjective genitive (“Moses”).
 tn The second clause begins with “and/now”; it is a cir-
cumstantial clause explaining that the tablets were in his
hand. It repeats the temporal clause at the end.
 tn Heb “in the hand ofMoses.”
 tn The temporal clause parallels the first temporal clause;
it uses the same infinitive construct, but now with a suffix re-
ferring toMoses.
 tn Heb “andMoses.”
 tn Theword ן ַר ָק (qaran) is derived from the noun ן ֶר ֶק (qeren)
in the sense of a “ray of light” (see Hab 3:4). Something of
the divine glory remained with Moses. The Greek transla-
tion 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 amask adorned with horns. But in the text the subject of
the verb is the skin of Moses’ face (see U. Cassuto, Exodus,
 tn This clause is introduced by the deictic particle ה ֵ ּנ ִה
(hinneh); it has the force of pointing to something surprising
or sudden.
 tn Heb “and Moses finished”; the clause is subordinated
as a temporal clause to the next clause.
0 tn The Piel infinitive construct is the object of the preposi-
tion; the whole phrase serves as the direct object of the verb
 tn Throughout this section the actions of Moses and the
people are frequentative. The text tells what happened regu-
 tn The construction uses a infinitive construct for the
temporal clause; it is prefixed with the temporal preposition:
“and in the going in ofMoses.”
out. Then he would come out and tell the Israel-
ites what he had been commanded. 34:35When
the Israelites would see the face ofMoses, that
the skin of Moses’ face shone, Moses would put
the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak
with the Lord.
Sabbath Regulations
35:1 Moses assembled the whole community
of the Israelites and said to them, “These are the
things that the Lord has commanded you to do.
35: In six days work may be done, but on the
seventh day there must be a holy day0 for you, a
Sabbath of complete rest to the Lord. Anyone
who does work on it will be put to death. 35:3You
must not kindle a fire in any of your homes on
the Sabbath day.”
 tn The temporal clause begins with the temporal prepo-
sition “until,” followed by an infinitive construct with the suf-
fixed subjective genitive.
 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.
 tn Now the perfect tense with vav consecutive is subordi-
nated to the next clause, “Moses returned the veil….”
 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.
 tn Heb “with him”; the referent (the Lord) has been speci-
fied in the translation for clarity.
 tn Heb “to do them”; this is somewhat redundant in Eng-
lish and has been simplified in the translation.
 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.
0 tn The word is שׁ ֶד ֹק (qodesh, “holiness”). S. R. Driver sug-
gests that the word was transposed, and the line should read:
“a sabbath of entire rest, holy to Jehovah” (Exodus, 379). But
the wordmay simply be taken as a substitution for “holy day.”
 sn See on this H. Routtenberg, “The Laws of the Sab-
bath: Biblical Sources,” Dor le Dor 6 (1977): 41-43, 99-101,
153-55, 204-6; G. Robinson, “The Idea of Rest in the Old Tes-
tament and the Search for the Basic Character of Sabbath,”
ZAW 92 (1980): 32-43.
 sn Kindling a fire receives special attention here be-
cause the people thought that kindling a fire was not work,
but only a preparation for some kind of work. The Lawmakes
sure that this too was not done. But see also G. Robinson,
“The Prohibition of Strange Fire in Ancient Israel: A Look at
the Case of Gathering Wood and Kindling Fire on the Sab-
bath,” VT 28 (1978): 301-17.
 tn Heb “dwelling places”; KJV, ASV “habitations.”
 sn The presence of these three verses in this place has
raised all kinds of questions. It may be that after the renewal
of the covenant the people needed a reminder to obey God,
and obeying the sign of the covenant was the starting point.
But there is more to it than this; it is part of the narrative de-
sign of the book. It is the artistic design that puts the filling of
the Spirit section (31:1-11) prior to the Sabbath laws (31:12-
18) before the idolatry section, and then after the renewal
there is the Sabbath reminder (35:1-3) before the filling of the
Spiritmaterial (35:4-36:7).
17 exodus 35:3
Willing Workers
35:4 Moses spoke to the whole commu-
nity of the Israelites, “This is the word that the
Lord has commanded: 35:5 ‘Take an offering
for the Lord. Let everyone who has a willing
heart bring an offering to the Lord: gold, sil-
ver, bronze, 35:6 blue, purple, and scarlet yarn,
fine linen, goat’s hair, 35:7 ram skins dyed red,
fine leather, acacia wood, 35:8 olive oil for the
light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fra-
grant incense, 35:9 onyx stones, and other gems
for mounting on the ephod and the breastpiece.
35:10 Every skilled person among you is to come
and make all that the Lord has commanded:
35:11 the tabernacle with0 its tent, its covering, its
clasps, its frames, its crossbars, its posts, and its
bases; 35:1 the ark, with its poles, the atonement
lid, and the special curtain that conceals it; 35:13 the
tablewith its poles and all its vessels, and theBread
of the Presence; 35:14 the lampstand for the light
and its accessories, its lamps, and oil for the light;
35:15 and the altar of incense with its poles, the
anointing oil, and the fragrant incense; the hang-
ing for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle;
35:16 the altar for the burnt offering with its bronze
grating that is on it, its poles, and all its utensils;
the large basin and its pedestal; 35:17 the hangings
of the courtyard, its posts and its bases, and the
curtain for the gateway to the courtyard; 35:18 tent
pegs for the tabernacle and tent pegs for the court-
yard and their ropes; 35:19 the woven garments for
serving in the holy place, the holy garments for
 sn The book now turns to record how all the work of the
sanctuary was done. This next unit picks up on the ideas in
Exod 31:1-11. But it adds several features. The first part is the
instruction of God for all people to give willingly (35:4-19); the
next section tells how the faithful brought an offering for the
service of the tabernacle (35:20-29); the next section tells
how God set some apart with special gifts (35:30-35), and
finally, the narrative reports how the faithful people of God en-
thusiastically began the work (36:1-7).
 tn Heb “from with you.”
 tn “Heart” is a genitive of specification, clarifying in what
way theymight be “willing.” The heart refers to their will, their
 tn The verb has a suffix that is the direct object, but the
suffixed object is qualified by the second accusative: “let him
bring it, an offering.”
 tn The phrase is literally “the offering of Yahweh”; it could
be a simple possessive, “Yahweh’s offering,” but a genitive
that indicates the indirect object ismore appropriate.
 tn See the note on this phrase in Exod 25:5.
 tn Heb “and stones.”
 tn Heb “filling.”
 tn Heb “wise of heart”; here also “heart” would be a geni-
tive of specification, showing that there were those who could
make skillful decisions.
0 tn In Hebrew style all these items are typically connected
with a vav (ו) conjunction, but English typically uses commas
except between the last two items in a series or between
items in a series that are somehow related to one another.
The present translation follows contemporary English style in
lists such as this.
 tn “for” has been supplied.
Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to
minister as priests.”
35:0 So the whole community of the Israelites
went out from the presence of Moses. 35:1 Ev-
eryone whose heart stirred him to action and
everyone whose spirit was willing came and
brought the offering for the Lord for the work of
the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the
holy garments. 35: They came, men and wom-
en alike, allwho hadwilling hearts.They brought
brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments, all kinds
of gold jewelry, and everyone camewhowaved
a wave offering of gold to the Lord.
35:3 Everyone who had blue, purple, or0
scarlet yarn, fine linen, goats’ hair, ram skins dyed
red, or fine leather brought them. 35:4 Ev-
eryone making an offering of silver or bronze
brought it as an offering to the Lord, and ev-
eryone who had acacia wood for any work of
the service brought it. 35:5 Every woman who
was skilled spun with her hands and brought
what she had spun, blue, purple, or scarlet yarn,
or fine linen, 35:6 and all the women whose
 tn Heb “man.”
 tn The verbmeans “lift up, bear, carry.” Here the subject
is “heart” or will, and so the expression describes onemoved
within to act.
 tn Heb “his spirit made him willing.” The verb is used in
Scripture for the freewill offering that people brought (Lev 7).
 tn Literally “the garments of holiness,” the genitive is the
attributive genitive, marking out what type of garments these
 tn The expression in Hebrew is “men on/after the wom-
en,” meaning men with women, to ensure that it was clear
that the preceding verse did not mean only men. B. Jacob
takes it further, saying that the men came after the women
because the latter had taken the initiative (Exodus, 1017).
 tn Heb “all gold utensils.”
 tn The verb could be translated “offered,” but it is cog-
nate with the following noun that is the wave offering. This
sentence underscores the freewill nature of the offerings
people made. The word “came” is supplied from v. 21 and
v. 22.
 tn The text uses a relative clause with a resumptive
pronoun for this: “who was found with him,” meaning “with
whom was found.”
0 tn The conjunction in this verse is translated “or” be-
cause the sentence does not intend to say that each person
had all these things. They brought what they had.
 tn See the note on this phrase in Exod 25:5.
 tn Here “them” has been supplied.
 tn This translation takes “offering” as an adverbial accu-
sative explaining the form or purpose of their bringing things.
It could also be rendered as the direct object, but that would
seem to repeat without much difference what had just been
 sn U. Cassuto notes that the expression “with whom was
found” does not rule out the idea that these folks went out
and cut down acacia trees (Exodus, 458). It is unlikely that
they hadmuch wood in their tents.
 tn Here “it” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “wisdom of heart,” which means that they were
skilled and couldmake all the right choices about the work.
exodus 35:4 18
heart stirred them to action and who were skilled
spun goats’ hair.
35:7 The leaders brought onyx stones and
other gems to be mounted for the ephod and the
breastpiece, 35:8 and spices and olive oil for the
light, for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant in-
35:9 The Israelites brought a freewill offering
to the Lord, every man and woman whose heart
was willing to bring materials for all the work that
the Lord through Moses had commanded them
to do.
35:30 Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the
Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son
of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 35:31 He has filled
him with the Spirit of God – with skill, with un-
derstanding, with knowledge, and in all kinds of
work, 35:3 to design artistic designs, to work in
gold, in silver, and in bronze, 35:33 and in cutting
stones for their setting, and in cutting wood, to do
work in every artistic craft. 35:34And he has put it
in his heart to teach, he and Oholiab son ofAhisa-
mach, of the tribe of Dan. 35:35 He has filled them
with skill to do all kinds of work0 as craftsmen,
as designers, as embroiderers in blue, purple, and
scarlet yarn and in fine linen, and asweavers.They
are craftsmen in all the work and artistic de-
signers. 36:1 So Bezalel and Oholiab and every
skilled person in whom the Lord has put skill
and ability to know how to do all the work for
 tn The text simply uses a prepositional phrase, “with/in
wisdom.” It seems to be qualifying “the women” as the rela-
tive clause is.
 tn Heb “and stones of the filling.”
 tn Heb “by the hand of.”
 tn Here “them” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “called by name” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV). This
expressionmeans that the person was specifically chosen for
some important task (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 342). See the ex-
pression with Cyrus in Isa 45:3-4.
 tn Heb “to set.”
 tn Heb “in every work of thought,” meaning, every work
that required the implementation of design or plan.
 sn The expression means that God has given them the
ability and the desire to teach others how to do the work. The
infinitive construct “to teach” is related to the word Torah, “in-
struction, guide, law.” They will be able to direct others in the
 tn The expression “wisdom of heart,” or “wisdom in
heart,” means artistic skill. The decisions and plans they
make are skilled. The expression forms a second accusative
after the verb of filling.
0 tn The expression “all the work” means “all kinds of
 tn Here “They are” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “doers of all work.”
 tn Heb “designers of designs.”
 tn Heb “wise of [in] heart.”
 tn Heb “wisdom.”
 tn Heb “understanding, discernment.”
 tn The relative clause includes this infinitive clause that
expresses either the purpose or the result of God’s giving wis-
dom and understanding to these folk.
the service of the sanctuary are to do the work
according to all that the Lord has commanded.”
36: Moses summoned0 Bezalel and Oholiab
and every skilled person in whom the Lord had
put skill – everyone whose heart stirred him to
volunteer to do the work, 36:3 and they received
from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had
brought to do thework for the service of the sanc-
tuary, and they still continued to bring him a free-
will offering eachmorning. 36:4 So all the skilled
people who were doing all the work on the sanc-
tuary came from the work they were doing 36:5
and told Moses, “The people are bringing much
more than is needed for the completion of the
work which the Lord commanded us to do!”
36:6 Moses instructed them to take0 his mes-
sage throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man
or woman do any more work for the offering for
the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from
bringing any more. 36:7 Now the materials were
more than enough for them to do all the work.
 tn This noun is usually given an interpretive translation.
B. Jacob renders the bound relationship as “the holy task”
or “the sacred task” (Exodus, 1019). The NIV makes it “con-
structing,” so read “the work of constructing the sanctuary.”
 tn The first word of the verse is a perfect tense with vav
(ו) consecutive; it is singular because it agrees with the first of
the compound subject. The sentence is a little cumbersome
because of the extended relative clause in themiddle.
0 tn The verb א ָר ָק (qara’) plus the preposition “to” – “to call
to” someonemeans “to summon” that person.
 tn Here there is a slight change: “in whose heart Yahweh
had put skill.”
 tn Or “whose heart was willing.”
 sn The verb means more than “approach” or “draw
near”; ב ַר ָק (qarav) is the word used for drawing near the altar
as in bringing an offering. Here they offer themselves, their
talents and their time.
 tn In the Hebrew text the infinitive “to do it” comes af-
ter “sanctuary”; it makes a smoother rendering in English to
move it forward, rather than reading “brought for the work.”
 tn Heb “in themorning, in themorning.”
 tn Heb “aman, aman from his work”; or “each one from
his work.”
 tn The construction uses the verbal hendiadys: םי ִ ּב ְר ַמ
אי ִב ָה ְל (marbim lÿhavi’) is the Hiphil participle followed (after
the subject) by the Hiphil infinitive construct. It would read,
“they multiply…to bring,” meaning, “they bring more” than is
 tn Heb “for the service” (so KJV, ASV).
 tn The last clause is merely the infinitive with an object
– “to do it.” It clearlymeans the skilled workers are to do it.
0 tn The verse simply reads, “andMoses commanded and
they caused [a voice] to cross over in the camp.” The second
preterite with the vavmay be subordinated to the first clause,
giving the intent (purpose or result).
 tn Heb “voice.”
 tn The verse ends with the infinitive serving as the object
of the preposition: “from bringing.”
 tn This part of the sentence comes from the final verb,
the Hiphil infinitive – leave over, meaning, have more than
enough (see BDB 451 s.v. ר ַת ָי).
 tn Heb “for all the work, to do it.”
sn This lengthy section (35:1-36:7) forms one of the most
remarkable sections in the book. Here there is a mixture of
God’s preparation of people to do the work and their willing-
ness to give and to serve. It not only provides insight into this
renewed community of believers, but it also provides a time-
less message for the church. The point is clear enough: In
response to God’s commission, and inspired by God’s Spirit,
19 exodus 36:7
The Building of the Tabernacle
36:8 All the skilled among those who were
doing the work made the tabernacle with ten cur-
tains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and
scarlet; they were made with cherubim that were
the work of an artistic designer. 36:9 The length of
one curtain was forty-two feet, and the width of
one curtain was six feet – the same size for each
of the curtains. 36:10 He joined five of the cur-
tains to one another, and the other five curtains
he joined to one another. 36:11 He made loops of
blue material along the edge of the end curtain in
the first set; he did the same along the edge of the
end curtain in the second set. 36:1 He made fifty
loops on the first curtain, and he made fifty loops
on the end curtain that was in the second set, with
the loops opposite one another. 36:13Hemade fifty
gold clasps and joined the curtains together to one
another with the clasps, so that the tabernacle was
a unit.
36:14 He made curtains of goats’ hair for a
tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains.
36:15 The length of one curtain was forty-five feet,
and the width of one curtain was six feet – one
size for all eleven curtains. 36:16 He joined five
curtains by themselves and six curtains by them-
selves. 36:17Hemade fifty loops along the edge of
the end curtain in the first set and fifty loops along
the edge of the curtain that joined the second set.
36:18 He made fifty bronze clasps to join the tent
together so that itmight be a unit. 36:19Hemade a
covering for the tent out of ram skins dyed red and
over that a covering of fine leather.
36:0 He made the frames for the tabernacle
of acacia wood as uprights. 36:1 The length of
each0 frame was fifteen feet, the width of each
the faithful and willing people rally to support and participate
in the Lord’s work.
 tn The verb is singular since it probably is referring toBeza-
lel, but since he would not do all the work himself, it may be
that the verbs could be given a plural subject: “they joined.”
 tn The words “the other” have been supplied.
 tn Heb “one.”
 tn Heb “eleven curtains hemade them.”
 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct from the
verb “to be” to express this purpose clause: “to be one,” or,
“so that itmight be a unit.”
 tn See the note on this phrase in Exod 25:5.
 tn There is debatewhether theword םי ִשׁ ָר ְ ּק ַה (haqqÿrashim)
means “boards” or “frames” or “planks” (see Ezek 27:6) or
“beams,” given the size of them. The literature on this in-
cludes M. Haran, “The Priestly Image of the Tabernacle,”
HUCA 36 (1965): 192; B. A. Levine, “The Description of the
Tabernacle Texts of the Pentateuch,” JAOS 85 (1965): 307-
18; J.Morgenstern, “The Ark, the Ephod, and the Tent,” HUCA
17 (1942/43): 153-265; 18 (1943/44): 1-52.
 tn “Wood” is an adverbial accusative.
 tn The plural participle “standing” refers to how these
items will be situated; they will be vertical rather than horizon-
tal (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 354).
0 tn Heb “the frame.”
 tn Heb “the one.”
frame was two and a quarter feet, 36: with two
projections per frame parallel one to another.
He made all the frames of the tabernacle in this
way. 36:3 So he made frames for the tabernacle:
twenty frames for the south side. 36:4 He made
forty silver bases under the twenty frames – two
bases under the first frame for its two projections,
and likewise two bases under the next frame for
its two projections, 36:5 and for the second side
of the tabernacle, the north side, he made twenty
frames 36:6 and their forty silver bases, two bases
under the first frame and two bases under the next
frame. 36:7 And for the back of the tabernacle
on the west he made six frames. 36:8 He made
two frames for the corners of the tabernacle on the
back. 36:9At the two corners theywere doubled
at the lower end and finished together at the top
in one ring. So he did for both. 36:30 So there were
eight frames and their silver bases, sixteen bases,
two bases under each frame.
36:31 He made bars of acacia wood, five for
the frames on one side of the tabernacle 36:3 and
five bars for the frames on the second side of the
tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the tab-
ernacle for the back side on the west. 36:33 He
made the middle bar to reach from end to end
in the center of the frames. 36:34 He overlaid the
frames with gold and made their rings of gold to
provide places for the bars, and he overlaid the
bars with gold.
36:35 He made the special curtain of blue,
purple, and scarlet yarn and fine twisted linen; he
made it with cherubim, the work of an artistic
designer. 36:36 He made for it four posts of aca-
cia wood and overlaid them with gold, with gold
hooks,0 and he cast for them four silver bases.
 tn Heb “two hands to the one frame.”
 tn Heb “joined one to one.”
 tn The clause is repeated to show the distributive sense;
it literally says, “and two bases under the one frame for its two
 tn Heb “under the one frame” again.
 tn This is the last phrase of the verse, moved forward for
 tn This difficult verse uses the perfect tense at the begin-
ning, and the second clause parallels it with ּוי ְה ִי (yihyu), which
has to be taken here as a preterite without the consecutive
vav (ו). The predicate “finished” or “completed” is the word
םי ִ ּמ ָ ּת (tammim); it normally means “complete, sound, whole,”
and related words describe the sacrifices as without blemish.
 tn Literally “houses”; i.e., places to hold the bars.
 tn The verb is simply “he made” but as in Exod 26:31 it
probably means that the cherubim were worked into the cur-
tain with the yarn, and so embroidered on the curtain.
0 tn Heb “and their hooks gold.”
exodus 36:8 0
36:37Hemade a hanging for the entrance of the
tent of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine twist-
ed linen, the work of an embroiderer, 36:38 and its
five posts and their hooks. He overlaid their tops
and their bandswith gold, but their five baseswere
The Making of the Ark
37:1 Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood; its
lengthwas three feet nine inches, itswidth two feet
three inches, and its height two feet three inches.
37: He overlaid it with pure gold, inside and out,
and he made a surrounding border of gold for it.
37:3 He cast four gold rings for it that he put on
its four feet, with two rings on one side and two
rings on the other side. 37:4He made poles of aca-
ciawood, overlaid themwith gold, 37:5 and put the
poles into the rings on the sides of the ark in order
to carry the ark.
37:6 He made an atonement lid of pure gold;
its length was three feet nine inches, and its width
was two feet three inches. 37:7Hemade two cheru-
bim of gold; he made them of hammered metal on
the two ends of the atonement lid, 37:8 one cherub
on one end and one cherub on the other end. He
made the cherubim from the atonement lid on its
two ends. 37:9 The cherubim were spreading their
wings upward, overshadowing the atonement lid
with their wings. The cherubim0 faced each oth-
er, looking toward the atonement lid.
The Making of the Table
37:10 He made the table of acacia wood;
its length was three feet, its width one foot six
inches, and its height two feet three inches.
 tn The word is “their heads”; technically it would be “their
capitals” (so ASV, NAB, NRSV). The bands were bands ofmet-
al surrounding these capitals just beneath them. These are
notmentioned in Exod 26:37, and it sounds like the posts are
to be covered with gold. But the gradation of metals is what
is intended: the posts at the entrance to the Most Holy Place
are all of gold; the posts at the entrance to the tent are over-
laid with gold at the top; and the posts at the entrance to the
courtyard are overlaid with silver at the top (S. R. Driver, Exo-
dus, 387, citing Dillmann without reference).
 sn For a good summary of the differences between the
instruction section and the completion section, and the rea-
sons for the changes and the omissions, see B. Jacob, Exo-
dus, 1022-23.
 tn Or “molding.”
 tn “that he put” has been supplied.
 tn This is taken as a circumstantial clause; the clause be-
gins with the conjunction vav.
 tn Heb “and hemade.”
 tn Heb “from/at [the] end, from this.”
 tn The repetition of the expression indicates it has the dis-
tributive sense.
 tn The construction is a participle in construct followed by
the genitive “wings” – “spreaders of wings.”
0 tn “The cherubim” has been placed here instead of in
the second clause to produce a smoother translation.
 tn Heb “and their faces aman to his brother.”
 tn Heb “to the atonement lid were the faces of the cheru-
37:11 He overlaid it with pure gold, and he made a
surrounding border of gold for it. 37:1 He made
a surrounding frame for it about three inches
wide, and he made a surrounding border of gold
for its frame. 37:13 He cast four gold rings for it
and attached the rings at the four corners where
its four legs were. 37:14 The rings were close to
the frame to provide places for the poles to carry
the table. 37:15 He made the poles of acacia wood
and overlaid them with gold, to carry the table.
37:16He made the vessels which were on the table
out of pure gold, its plates, its ladles, its pitchers,
and its bowls, to be used in pouring out offerings.
The Making of the Lampstand
37:17 He made the lampstand of pure gold. He
made the lampstand of hammered metal; its base
and its shaft, its cups, its buds, and its blossoms
were from the same piece. 37:18 Six branches
were extending from its sides, three branches
of the lampstand from one side of it, and three
branches of the lampstand from the other side of
it. 37:19 Three cups shaped like almond flowers
with buds and blossoms were on the first branch,
and three cups shaped like almond flowers with
buds and blossoms were on the next branch, and
the same for the six branches that were extend-
ing from the lampstand. 37:0 On the lampstand
there were four cups shaped like almond flowers
with buds and blossoms, 37:1 with a bud under
the first two branches from it, and a bud under the
next two branches from it, and a bud under the
third two branches from it; according to the six
branches that extended from it. 37: Their buds
and their brancheswere of one piece; all of itwas
one hammered piece of pure gold. 37:3 He made
its seven lamps, its trimmers, and its trays of pure
gold. 37:4Hemade the lampstand and all its ac-
cessories with seventy-five pounds of pure gold.
The Making of the Altar of Incense
37:5 He made the incense altar of aca-
cia wood. Its length was a foot and a half and
its width a foot and a half – a square – and its
height was three feet. Its horns were of one piece
 tn The suffixes on these could also indicate the indirect
object (see Exod 25:29).
 tn Heb “from it”; the referent (“the same piece” of
wrought metal) has been specified in the translation for clar-
 tn Heb “the one branch.” But the repetition of “one…
one” means here one after another, or the “first” and then
the “next.”
 tn Heb “thus for six branches….”
 tn As in Exod 26:35, the translation of “first” and “next”
and “third” is interpretive, because the text simply says “un-
der two branches” in each of three places.
 tn Heb “were from it.”
 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the lampstand) has been speci-
fied in the translation for clarity.
1 exodus 37:5
with it. 37:6 He overlaid it with pure gold – its
top, its four walls, and its horns – and he made
a surrounding border of gold for it. 37:7 He also
made two gold rings for it under its border, on its
two sides, on opposite sides, as places for poles
to carry it with. 37:8 He made the poles of acacia
wood and overlaid them with gold.
37:9He made the sacred anointing oil and the
pure fragrant incense, the work of a perfumer.
The Making of the Altar for the Burnt Offering
38:1 He made the altar for the burnt offering
of acacia wood seven feet six inches long and sev-
en feet six inches wide – it was square – and its
height was four feet six inches. 38: He made its
horns on its four corners; its horns were part of it,
and he overlaid it with bronze. 38:3 He made all
the utensils of the altar – the pots, the shovels, the
tossing bowls, the meat hooks, and the fire pans
– he made all its utensils of bronze. 38:4 He made
a grating for the altar, a network of bronze under
its ledge, halfway up from the bottom. 38:5He cast
four rings for the four corners of the bronze grat-
ing, to provide places for the poles. 38:6 He made
the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with
bronze. 38:7 He put the poles into the rings on the
sides of the altar, with which to carry it. He made
the altar hollow, out of boards.
38:8 He made the large basin of bronze and its
pedestal of bronze from the mirrors of the women
who served0 at the entrance of the tent of meet-
The Construction of the Courtyard
38:9 He made the courtyard. For the south
side the hangings of the courtyard were of
fine twisted linen, one hundred fifty feet long,
 tn Heb “from it were its horns,” meaning that they were
made from the same piece.
 tn Heb “roof.”
 tn Heb “its walls around.”
 tn Heb “and hemade for it border gold around.”
 tn Heb “and hemade.”
 sn Since it was a small altar, it needed only two rings, one
on either side, in order to be carried. The second mention of
their location clarifies that they should be on the sides, the
right and the left, as one approached the altar.
 tn Heb “for houses.”
 tn Heb “its horns were from it,” meaning from the same
 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the altar) has been specified in
the translation for clarity.
0 sn The word for “serve” is not the ordinary one. It means
“to serve in a host,” especially in awar. It appears thatwomen
were organized into bands and served at the tent of meet-
ing. S. R. Driver thinks that this meant “no doubt” washing,
cleaning, or repairing (Exodus, 391). But there is no hint of
that (see 1 Sam 2:22; and see Ps 68:11 [12 HT]). They seem
to have hadmore to do than what Driver said.
 tn Heb “south side southward.”
38:10 with their twenty posts and their twen-
ty bronze bases, with the hooks of the posts and
their bands of silver. 38:11 For the north side the
hangings were one hundred fifty feet, with their
twenty posts and their twenty bronze bases, with
the hooks of the posts and their bands of silver.
38:1 For the west side there were hangings
seventy-five feet long, with their ten posts and
their ten bases, with the hooks of the posts and
their bands of silver. 38:13 For the east side, to-
ward the sunrise, it was seventy-five feet wide,
38:14 with hangings on one side of the gate that
were twenty-two and a half feet long, with their
three posts and their three bases, 38:15 and for the
second side of the gate of the courtyard, just like
the other, the hangings were twenty-two and a
half feet long, with their three posts and their three
bases. 38:16All the hangings around the courtyard
were of fine twisted linen. 38:17 The bases for the
posts were bronze. The hooks of the posts and
their bands were silver, their tops were overlaid
with silver, and all the posts of the courtyard had
silver bands. 38:18 The curtain0 for the gate of
the courtyard was of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn
and fine twisted linen, the work of an embroider-
er. It was thirty feet long, and like the hangings in
the courtyard, it was seven and a half feet high,
38:19 with four posts and their four bronze bases.
Their hooks and their bands were silver, and their
tops were overlaid with silver. 38:0 All the tent
pegs of the tabernacle and of the courtyard all
around were bronze.
 tn While this verse could be translated as an indepen-
dent sentence, it is probably to be subordinated as a circum-
stantial clause in line with Exod 27:10-12, as well as v. 12 of
this passage.
 tn Here the phrase “the hangings were” has been sup-
 tn The phrase “there were” has been supplied.
 tn The text simply has “their posts ten and their bases
ten”; this may be added here as a circumstantial clause with
the main sentence in order to make sense out of the con-
 tn The text simply says “seventy-five feet.”
 tn The word literally means “shoulder.” The next words,
“of the gate,” have been supplied here. The east end con-
tained the courtyard’s entry with a wall of curtains on each
side of the entry (see v. 15).
 tn Heb “from this and from this” (cf, 17:12; 25:19; 26:13;
32:15; Josh 8:22, 33; 1 Kgs 10:19-20; Ezek 45:7).
 tn Heb “they were banded with silver.”
0 tn This word is different from the word for hangings; it
has more of the idea of a screen, shielding or securing the
exodus 37:6 
The Materials of the Construction
38:1 This is the inventory of the tabernacle,
the tabernacle of the testimony, which was count-
ed by the order ofMoses, being the work of the
Levites under the direction of Ithamar, son ofAar-
on the priest. 38:Now Bezalel son ofUri, the son
of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything that
the Lord had commanded Moses; 38:3 and with
him was Oholiab son ofAhisamach, of the tribe of
Dan, an artisan, a designer, and an embroiderer in
blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen.
38:4All the gold that was used for the work,
in all the work of the sanctuary (namely, the gold
of the wave offering) was twenty-nine talents and
730 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel.
38:5 The silver of those who were num-
bered of the community was one hundred tal-
ents and 1,775 shekels, according to the sanctu-
ary shekel, 38:6 one beka per person, that is, a
half shekel,0 according to the sanctuary shekel,
for everyone who crossed over to those num-
bered, from twenty years old or older, 603,550
in all. 38:7 The one hundred talents of silver
were used for casting the bases of the sanctuary
and the bases of the special curtain – one hun-
 tn The Hebrew word is י ֵד ּוק ְ ּפ (pÿqude), which in a slavishly
literal way would be “visitations of” the tabernacle. But the
word often has the idea of “numbering” or “appointing” as
well. Here it is an accounting or enumeration of thematerials
that people brought, so the contemporary term “inventory” is
a close approximation.By using thisHebrewword there is also
the indication that whatever was given, i.e., appointed for the
tabernacle, was changed forever in its use. This is consistent
with this Hebrew root, which does have a sense of changing
the destiny of someone (“God will surely visit you”). The list in
this section will also be tied to the numbering of the people.
 tn The same verb is used here, but now in the Pual per-
fect tense, third masculine singular. A translation “was num-
bered” or “was counted” works. The verb is singular because
it refers to the tabernacle as a unit. This section will list what
made up the tabernacle.
 tn Heb “at/by themouth of.”
 tn The noun is “work” or “service.” S. R. Driver explains
that the reckonings were not made for the Levites, but that
they were the work of the Levites, done by them under the
direction of Ithamar (Exodus, 393).
 tn Heb “by the hand of.”
 tn These words form the casus pendens, or independent
nominative absolute, followed by the apodosis beginning with
the vav (ו; see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 469).
 tn Heb “and it was.”
 sn There were 3000 shekels in a talent, and so the total
weight here in shekelswould be 87,730 shekels of gold. If the
sanctuary shekel was 224 grs., then this was about 40,940
oz. troy. This is estimated to be a little over a ton (cf. NCV
“over 2,000 pounds”; TEV “a thousand kilogrammes”; CEV
“two thousand two hundred nine pounds”; NLT “about 2,200
pounds”), although other widely diverging estimates are also
 sn This would be a total of 301,775 shekels (about
140,828 oz), being a half shekel exacted per person from
605,550 male Israelites 20 years old or more (Num 1:46).
The amount is estimated to be around 3.75 tons.
0 sn The weight would be about half an ounce.
 tn Heb “upward.”
 tn The phrase “in all” has been supplied.
dred bases for one hundred talents, one talent per
base. 38:8 From the remaining 1,775 shekels he
made hooks for the posts, overlaid their tops, and
made bands for them.
38:9The bronze of thewave offeringwas sev-
enty talents and 2,400 shekels. 38:30 With it he
made the bases for the door of the tent of meet-
ing, the bronze altar, the bronze grating for it, and
all the utensils of the altar, 38:31 the bases for the
courtyard all around, the bases for the gate of the
courtyard, all the tent pegs of the tabernacle, and
all the tent pegs of the courtyard all around.
The Making of the Priestly Garments
39:1 From the blue, purple, and scarlet yarn
they made woven garments for serving in the
sanctuary; they made holy garments that were for
Aaron, just as the Lord had commandedMoses.
The Ephod
39: He made the ephod of gold, blue, purple,
scarlet, and fine twisted linen. 39:3 They ham-
mered the gold into thin sheets and cut it into nar-
row strips to weave them into the blue, purple,
and scarlet yarn, and into the fine linen, the work
of an artistic designer. 39:4 They made shoulder
pieces for it, attached to two of its corners, so it
could be joined together. 39:5 The artistically wo-
ven waistband of the ephod that was on it was like
it, of one piece with it, of gold, blue, purple, and
scarlet yarn and fine twisted linen, just as the Lord
had commandedMoses.
39:6 They set the onyx stones in gold filigree
settings, engraved aswith the engravings of a seal
with the names of the sons of Israel.0 39:7 He put
them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as stones
of memorial for the Israelites, just as the Lord had
 tn Here the word “shekels” is understood; about 45
 sn The total shekels would have been 212,400 shekels,
which would be about 108,749 oz. This would make about
2.5 to 3 tons.
 sn The bronze altar is the altar for the burnt offering; the
large bronze basin is not included here in the list.
 sn This chapter also will be almost identical to the in-
structions given earlier, with a few changes along the way.
 tn The verb is the infinitive that means “to do, to work.”
It could be given a literal rendering: “to work [them into] the
blue….” Weaving or embroidering is probably what is intend-
 tn Heb “from it” or the same.
 tn Or “as seals are engraved.”
0 sn The twelve names were those of Israel’s sons. The
idea was not the remembrance of the twelve sons as such,
but the twelve tribes that bore their names.
 tn Or “attached.”
3 exodus 39:7
The Breastpiece of Decision
39:8 He made the breastpiece, the work of an
artistic designer, in the same fashion as the ephod,
of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine twisted
linen. 39:9 It was square – they made the breast-
piece doubled, nine inches long and nine inches
wide when doubled. 39:10 They set on it four
rows of stones: a row with a ruby, a topaz, and a
beryl – the first row; 39:11 and the second row, a
turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald; 39:1 and
the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
39:13 and the fourth row, a chrysolite, an onyx, and
a jasper. They were enclosed in gold filigree set-
tings. 39:14 The stones were for the names of the
sons of Israel, twelve, corresponding to the num-
ber of their names. Each name corresponding to
one of the twelve tribes was like the engravings
of a seal.
39:15 They made for the breastpiece braid-
ed chains like cords of pure gold, 39:16 and they
made two gold filigree settings and two gold rings,
and they attached the two rings to the upper two
ends of the breastpiece. 39:17 They attached the
two gold chains to the two rings at the ends of the
breastpiece; 39:18 the other two ends of the two
chains they attached to the two settings, and they
attached them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod
at the front of it. 39:19Theymade two rings of gold
and put them on the other two ends of the breast-
piece on its edge, which is on the inner side of the
ephod. 39:0Theymade twomore gold rings and
attached them to the bottom of the two shoulder
pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the junc-
ture above the waistband of the ephod. 39:1 They
tied the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the
ephod by blue cord, so that it was above the waist-
band of the ephod, so that the breastpiece would
not be loose from the ephod, just as the Lord had
The Other Garments
39:Hemade the robe of the ephod complete-
ly blue, the work of a weaver. 39:3 There was an
opening in the center of the robe, like the open-
ing of a collar, with an edge all around the open-
ing so that it could not be torn. 39:4 They made
pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn
and twisted linen around the hem of the robe.
 tn That is, they set inmountings.
 tn The phrase “the number of” has been supplied.
 tn Here “upper” has been supplied.
 tn Here “other” has been supplied.
 tn Here “other” has been supplied.
 tn Heb “homeward side.”
 tn Here “more” has been supplied.
 tn The word is simply “twined” or “twisted.” It may refer
to the twisted linen that so frequently is found in these lists;
or, itmay refer to the yarn twisted. The LXX reads “fine twined
linen.” This is not found in the text of Exod 28:33, except in
Smr and LXX.
39:5 They made bells of pure gold and attached
the bells between the pomegranates around the
hem of the robe between the pomegranates.
39:6 There was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell
and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe,
to be used in ministering,0 just as the Lord had
39:7Theymade tunics of fine linen – thework
of a weaver, forAaron and for his sons – 39:8 and
the turban of fine linen, the headbands of fine linen,
and the undergarments of fine twisted linen. 39:9
The sashwas of fine twisted linen and blue, purple,
and scarlet yarn, the work of an embroiderer, just
as the Lord had commanded Moses. 39:30 They
made a plate, the holy diadem, of pure gold and
wrote on it an inscription, as on the engravings of
a seal, “Holiness to the Lord.” 39:31They attached
to it a blue cord, to attach it to the turban above,
just as the Lord had commandedMoses.
Moses Inspects the Sanctuary
39:3 So all the work of the tabernacle, the
tent of meeting, was completed, and the Israel-
ites did according to all that the Lord had com-
mandedMoses – they did it exactly so. 39:33 They
brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all
its furnishings, clasps, frames, bars, posts, and
bases; 39:34 and the coverings of ram skins dyed
red, the covering of fine leather, and the protect-
ing curtain; 39:35 the ark of the testimony and
its poles, and the atonement lid; 39:36 the table,
all its utensils, and the Bread of the Presence;
39:37 the pure lampstand, its lamps, with the
lamps set in order, and all its accessories, and
oil for the light; 39:38 and the gold altar, and the
anointing oil, and the fragrant incense; and the cur-
tain for the entrance to the tent; 39:39 the bronze
altar and its bronze grating, its poles, and all its
utensils; the large basin with its pedestal; 39:40 the
hangings of the courtyard, its posts and its bases,
and the curtain for the gateway of the courtyard,
its ropes and its tent pegs, and all the furnishings
for the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of
meeting; 39:41 the woven garments for serving
in the sanctuary, the holy garments for Aaron the
priest, and the garments for his sons to minister
as priests.
 tn The words “there was” are supplied in the translation
for stylistic reasons.
0 tn The infinitive “to minister” is present; “to be used” is
supplied from the context.
 sn The last sections of the book bring several themes to-
gether to a full conclusion. Not only is it the completion of the
tabernacle, it is the fulfillment of God’s plan revealed at the
beginning of the book, i.e., to reside with his people.
 tn See the note on this phrase in Exod 25:5.
 tn Or “shielding” (NIV); NASB “the screening veil.”
 tn Possiblymeaning “pure gold lampstand.”
 tn Heb “utensils, vessels.”
 tn The form is the infinitive construct; it means the
clothes to be used “tominister” in the holy place.
exodus 39:8 4
39:4 The Israelites did all the work according
to all that the Lord had commanded Moses. 39:43
Moses inspected all the work – and they had
done it just as the Lord had commanded – they
had done it exactly – andMoses blessed them.
Setting Up the Sanctuary
40:1Then the Lord spoke toMoses: 40: “On
the first day of the first month you are to set up
the tabernacle, the tent of meeting. 40:3You are to
place the ark of the testimony in it and shield the
ark with the special curtain. 40:4You are to bring
in the table and set out the things that belong on it;
then you are to bring in the lampstand and set up
its lamps. 40:5 You are to put the gold altar for in-
cense in front of the ark of the testimony and put the
curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle. 40:6 You
are to put the altar for the burnt offering in front
of the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meet-
ing. 40:7You are to put the large basin between the
tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it.
40:8You are to set up the courtyard around it and
put the curtain at the gate of the courtyard. 40:9 And
take0 the anointing oil, and anoint the taberna-
cle and all that is in it, and sanctify it and all its
 tn Or “examined” (NASB, TEV); NCV “looked closely at.”
 tn The deictic particle draws attention to what he saw in
such a way as to give the reader Moses’ point of view and a
sense of his pleasure: “and behold, they….”
 sn The situation and wording in Exod 39:43 are reminis-
cent of Gen 1:28 and 31, with the motifs of blessing people
and inspecting what has beenmade.
 sn All of Exod 39:32-40:38 could be taken as a unit. The
first section (39:32-43) shows that the Israelites had carefully
and accurately completed the preparation and brought every-
thing they hadmade toMoses: The work of the Lord builds on
the faithful obedience of the people. In the second section
are the instruction and the implementation (40:1-33): The
work of the Lord progresses through the unifying of the work.
The last part (40:34-38) may take the most attention: When
the work was completed, the glory filled the tabernacle: By his
glorious presence, the Lord blesses and directs his people in
their worship.
 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke toMoses, saying.”
 tn Heb “you will raise,” an imperfect of instruction.
 tn Heb “and you will set in order its setting” or “arrange
its arrangement.” See 25:29-30 for items that belonged on
the table.
 tn Heb “give” (also four additional times in vv. 6-8).
 tn Heb “there.”
0 tn Heb “you will take” (perfect with vav, ו).
 tn Heb “and you will anoint” (perfect with vav, ו).
 tn Heb “and you will sanctify” (perfect with vav, ו).
furnishings, and it will be holy. 40:10 Then you
are to anoint the altar for the burnt offering with
all its utensils; you are to sanctify the altar, and
it will be the most holy altar. 40:11 You must also
anoint the large basin and its pedestal, and you are
to sanctify it.
40:1 “You are to bringAaron and his sons to
the entrance of the tent of meeting and wash them
withwater. 40:13Then you are to clotheAaronwith
the holy garments and anoint him and sanctify him
so that he may minister as my priest. 40:14You are
to bring his sons and clothe them with tunics
40:15 and anoint them just as you anointed their fa-
ther, so that they may minister as my priests; their
anointing will make them a priesthood that will
continue throughout their generations.” 40:16 This
is what Moses did, according to all the Lord had
commanded him – so he did.
40:17 So the tabernacle was set up on the
first day of the first month, in the second year.
40:18When Moses set up the tabernacle and put
its bases in place, he set up its frames, attached its
bars, and set up its posts. 40:19 Then he spread the
tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of
the tent over it, as the Lord had commanded Mo-
ses. 40:0 He took the testimony and put it in the
ark, attached the poles to the ark, and then put the
atonement lid on the ark. 40:1And he brought the
ark into the tabernacle, hung the protecting cur-
tain, and shielded the ark of the testimony from
view, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
 tn Heb “and.”
 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 480) notes that the items inside
the tent did not need to be enumerated since they were al-
ready holy, but items in the courtyard needed special atten-
tion. People needed to know that items outside the tent were
just as holy.
 tn The verb is “bring near,” or “present,” to Yahweh.
 tn The verb is also “bring near” or “present.”
 tn Heb “set up,” if it includesmore than the curtain.
 tn Or “shielding” (NIV); Heb “the veil of the covering” (cf.
5 exodus 40:1
40: And he put the table in the tent of meet-
ing, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the
curtain. 40:3 And he set the bread in order on it
before the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded
40:4 And he put the lampstand in the tent of
meeting opposite the table, on the south side of the
tabernacle. 40:5 Then he set up the lamps before
the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded Mo-
40:6 And he put the gold altar in the tent of
meeting in front of the curtain, 40:7 and he burned
fragrant incense on it, just as the Lord had com-
40:8 Then he put the curtain at the entrance to
the tabernacle. 40:9 He also put the altar for the
burnt offering by the entrance to the tabernacle,
the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt of-
fering and the meal offering, just as the Lord had
40:30 Then he put the large basin between the
tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it
for washing. 40:31 Moses and Aaron and his sons
would wash their hands and their feet from it.
40:3Whenever they entered the tent of meet-
ing, and whenever they approached the altar, they
would wash, just as the Lord had commanded
 tn Heb uses a cognate accusative construction, “he ar-
ranged the arrangement.”
 tn Heb “there.”
 tn The construction is the infinitive construct with the
temporal preposition and the suffixed subjective genitive.
This temporal clause indicates that the verb in the preceding
verse was frequentative.
 tn This is another infinitive construct in a temporal clause.
 tn In this explanatory verse the verb is a customary im-
40:33 And he set up the courtyard around the
tabernacle and the altar, and put the curtain at
the gate of the courtyard. So Moses finished the
40:34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meet-
ing, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
40:35Moses was not able to enter the tent of meet-
ing because the cloud settled on it and the glory of
the Lord filled the tabernacle. 40:36 But when the
cloud was lifted up from the tabernacle, the Isra-
eliteswould set out on all their journeys; 40:37 but
if the cloud was not lifted up, then they would
not journey further until the day it was lifted up.
40:38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the taber-
nacle by day, but fire would be on it at night, in
plain view0 of all the house of Israel, throughout
all their journeys.
 tn The construction uses the Niphal infinitive construct to
form the temporal clause.
 tn The imperfect tense in this context describes a custom-
ary action.
 tn The clause uses the Niphal infinitive construct in the
temporal clause: “until the day of its being taken up.”
 tn Here is another imperfect tense of the customary nu-
0 tn Heb “to the eyes of all”; KJV, ASV, NASB “in the sight of
all”; NRSV “before the eyes of all.”
exodus 40: 6

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