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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Exodus 34

Verses 1-35

Exodus 34:29

Christians that are really the most eminent saints, and therefore have the most excellent experiences,... are astonished at and ashamed of the low degrees of their love and thankfulness, and their little knowledge of God. Moses, when he had been conversing with God in the mount, and his face shone so bright in the eyes of others as to dazzle their eyes, wist not that his face shone.

Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections (part iii.).

Men of elevated minds are not their own historians and panegyrists. So is it with faith and other Christian graces. Bystanders see our minds; but our minds, if healthy, see but the objects which possess them. As God's grace elicits our faith, so His holiness stirs our fear, and His glory kindles our love. Others may say of us, 'here is faith,' and 'there is conscientiousness,' and 'there is love'; but we can only say, 'this is God's grace,' and 'that is His holiness,' and 'that is His glory'.

Newman, Lectures on Justification, p. 337.

Let thy face, like Moses', shine to others, but make no looking-glasses for thyself.

Jeremy Taylor.

The late Dr. Andrew Bonar, when visiting Mr. Moody at Northfield, was out in his garden at early morning one day talking with his host. Along came a band of happy students, who shouted out: 'We've been having an all-night prayer meeting; can't you see our faces shine?' Dr. Bonar turned to them, and said, with a quiet smile, and shake of the head: 'Moses wist not that his face shone'.

References. XXXIV. 29. W. J. Back, A Book of Lay Sermons, p. 247. S. G. McLennan, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxv. 1904, p. 83. T. Teignmouth Shore, The Life of the World to Come, p. 157. W. A. Gray, The Shadow of the Hand, p. 177. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Exodus, etc., p. 204. XXXIV. 29-35. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxvi. No. 2143.

Exodus 34:30

Make conscience of beginning the day with God. For he that begins it not with Him, will hardly end it with Him. It is he that finds God in his closet that will carry the savour of Him into his house, his shop, and his more open conversation. When Moses had been with God in the mount, his face shone, he brought of that glory into the camp.


High gracious affections leave a sweet savour and relish of Divine things on the heart, and a stronger bent of soul towards God and holiness; as Moses' face not only shone while he was in the mount, extraordinarily conversing with God, but it continued to shine after he came down from the mount.

Jonathan Edwards.

'Millais was the best trained of all,' says Mr. Holman Hunt in his History of Pre-Raphaelitism (i. p. 139). 'Not one hour of his life had been lost to his purpose of being a painter. The need of groping after systems by philosophic research and deductions was superseded in him by a quick instinct which enabled him to pounce as an eagle upon the prize he searched for.... He felt the fire of his message; it seemed to make his face shine, so that Rossetti, to justify an expression of his in "Hand and Soul," said that when he looked at Millais in full, his face was that of an angel.'

Reference. XXXIV. 30. John Ker, Sermons, p. 170.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Exodus 34". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.