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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



EXODUS 34

 

CHAPTER XXXIV.

 

Ver. 1.  Former.  Deut. x. 1, adds, and come up to me into the mount, and I, &c.  Here.

 

Ver. 2.  Go up.  From these expressions we might infer, that God gave the order first on Mount Sinai, and repeated it to Moses in the tabernacle, the night before he commenced his third fast and supplication of 40 days.  H. --- After the first tables were broken, others were given; so after baptism we may obtain remission of sin by penance.  S. Jer. ad Dem.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Let no, &c.  This was to impress all with sentiments of reverence.

 

Ver. 6.  He said.  Some refer this to Moses; others, more probably, to God, who had promised, by this signal of the name of the Lord, to testify his presence.  C. --- The angel addresses God in this manner, while Moses lies concealed in the rock, covered with the hand or cloud of God's representative.  H. --- Of the eleven attributes here claimed by God, three regard his essence, six his mercy, and the last two his justice.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Keepest.  So the Targum of Jerusalem reads.  Heb. and Sept. have, "keepeth." --- No man, &c.  All have sinned.  Rom. iii. 23.  Heb. "who will not clear the guilty," which is followed by the Chal. and Sept.  God is a just judge, who will assuredly punish the impenitent.  Yet even in justice, he will remember mercy, and will stop at the third and fourth generation, (C.) when the influence of the progenitors' example can have but small influence upon their descendants.  If, however, they prove guilty, they must expect chastisement.  Ex. xx. 5.

 

Ver. 9.  (For it, &c.)  If thou do not support me, I shall not be able to govern.  H. --- Possess us.  Take us for thy peculiar inheritance.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Covenant.  The first had been made void by idolatry.  C. --- Notwithstanding the former threats, (C. xxxiii. 3,) God here promises new benefits.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Observe, O my people, (M.) you who shall serve under Josue, when these promises shall be fulfilled.  H. --- The Sept. add the Gergesite to the list of people who should be expelled.  But Lyran. thinks they are omitted in Hebrew, because they had already retired before the approach of the Hebrews.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Statues.  Sept. have "pillars," and subjoin after groves, (unless it be another translation, as Grabe insinuates) "you shall burn with fire the graven things of their gods."

 

Ver. 14.  Jealous.  Like a husband, He will watch all your motions.

 

Ver. 15.  Covenant.  The same word occurs here, as (v. 12,) in Heb. and Sept.  H. --- It relates chiefly to contracts of marriage, which God forbids the faithful to enter into with the Chanaanites, and with other idolatrous nations, lest they should follow their example.  Solomon is reprehended for transgressing this law, (3 K. xi. 1,) and such marriages are called abominations.  1 Esd. ix. 1. x. 2. 10.  Joseph.  But if any of those people became converts, the reason of the prohibition ceased.  Hence a captive woman might be married, (Deut. xxi. 11,) and Salmon took Rahab to wife.  If Samson and Esther married with heathens, it might be done by God's dispensation, for weighty reasons.  T. --- Fornication.  On account of the dissolute behaviour of those idolater, their worship is often condemned under this name, Jer. ii. and iii.  Ezec. xvi.  C. --- Sacrificed, and thus thou be drawn into a participation in his guilt.  The other laws are here repeated from C. xxiii.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Son.  The Chal. and Sept. add, "nor give any of thy daughters to their sons;" or, joining this verse with the 15th, the Sept. say, "make no covenant...lest they commit fornication after their gods...and call thee and thou eat...and thou take of their daughters wives for thy sons, and thou wilt give some of thy daughters to their sons, and thy daughters shall go fornicating after their gods."  The most imminent dangers attend those women, who have infidel husbands.  H. --- The intention of Moses, and the custom of the Hebrews, justly reprobated such marriages.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  New corn.  Heb. Abib; the name of the month Nisan, which corresponds with our March and April.

 

Ver. 21.  Reap; when the most urgent necessity might seem to authorize labour.  H.

 

Ver. 22.  Harvest.  Pentecost. --- Laid in, at the feast of tabernacles, in September.  M. --- The Sept. have "the feast of gathering, in the middle of the (sacred) year."  The greatest solemnity of the Passover is mentioned, v. 18.  H.

 

Ver. 24.  In wait.  Heb. and Sept. "shall desire."  C. --- God engages to protect their land.  M.

 

Ver. 25.  Sacrifice of the paschal lamb, to which the Chaldee properly restrains this verse.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Dam.  Chal. "thou shalt not eat flesh with milk."  See C. xxiii. 19.

 

Ver. 28.  Wrote.  God wrote on the tables, as he had promised, v. 1.  C. --- Moses recorded all in this book, as he was ordered, v. 27.  S. Cyprian (de Sp. S.) and S. Augustine (q. 186,) infer, however, from this text, that the second tables had not the same honour as the first.  The contrary appears from Deut. x. 4, He (God) wrote...as before.  Estius, Calmet, and Menoch. think the forty days here mentioned, were those which Moses spent with God to obtain the people's pardon, and the law, at the same time.  See C. xxxii. 35.  He continued all that time without meat or sleep, by the power of God, who supports Enoch and Elias in the vigour of health without corporal sustenance.  Salien. A. 2544, in which year of the world he fixes the death of Job, the great prophet of the Gentiles.

 

Ver. 29.  Horned.  That is, shining, and sending forth rays of light like horns.  Ch. --- Sept. "encircled with glory."  S. Paul (2 Cor. iii. 7,) says, the Hebrews could not look steadfastly at the face of Moses, on account of the glory of his countenance.  Hence, he was forced to have a veil, which, the apostle observes, was not taken off from the old law till Christ appeared.  The Jews and heretics still read the law and the gospel with a veil over their eyes and heart, without understanding them, as they are hidden to those who perish, 2 Cor. iv. 3.  The Jews are much enraged at some Christians, who have represented Moses with horns, as if, they say, he were a devil, or his wife an adulteress.  Stacchus and Drusius. --- Heb. "his skin was radiant" all over his face.  These rays commanded respect and awe from the people, who had before said contemptuously, Moses---the man, (C. xxxii. 1,) as they shewed that God was with him.  They had not appeared before, though he had often conversed with the Lord: but now, having seen the glorious vision, they adhered to him during the remainder of his life, particularly when he enforced the obligations of the law to the people.  H. --- The Arabs make their hair stand up like little horns, when they are about 40 years old.  Patric. ii. 4. Navig.  Homer mentions the like custom, and Diomed laughs at Paris calling  him the pretty-horned.  Iliad xi.  Many of the ancient heroes and gods are represented with horns, particularly Bacchus, whose history reminds us of  many particulars, which belong to Moses.  He was born or educated in the confines of Egypt, was exposed on the waters, in a box; had two mothers, and very beautiful.  While his army enjoyed the light, the Indians were in darkness.  He was preceded by a pillar, had women in his train, dried up rivers with his thyrsus or wand, which had crawled, like a serpent, &c.  Huet. &c.  S. Epiphanius (her. 55,) says the Idumeans adored Moses.  Their idol is called Choze by Josephus, (Ant. xviii. 11,) which may be derived from Chus, the ancestor of Sephora, as Bacchus and Iacchus may denote "the son Bar, or the god Chus," Jah-Chus, who was adored in Arabia; so that Moses, Choze, and Bacchus, probably mean the same person.  Chus peopled that part of Arabia where the Hebrews sojourned.  Num. xii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 33.  And having, &c.  At first, he spoke uncovered.  M. --- The Protestants insert the word till in Italics, to insinuate that Moses spoke with a veil on, as S. Paul mentions; (H.) and Calmet would translate, "for Moses had ceased to address the people, and had put a veil upon his face," as soon as he perceived that they could not bear the blaze of his countenance.  This he did out of modesty, that they might not be afraid of coming to speak freely to him, (Jansenius) though it was also mysterious, as S. Paul remarks.  For even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart, (2 Cor. iii. 15,) as it is upon that of heretics, who cannot see the church.  S. Aug. in Ps. xxx.  W.

 

 








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