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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Exodus 34

Verses 1-35

Moses was called again into the mount and the promised unveiling was made to him. It consisted of a declaration by God of the truth concerning Himself, first, as to His nature and second, as to His methods with men. In these we have the merging of the two essential truths that God is love and God is light. He is full of compassion and yet absolutely holy, He forgives and yet cannot clear the guilty. It was strange and paradoxical, yet an infinite music, fully interpreted when Moses was superseded finally by the Son of God.

Following these things, the terms of a covenant between the people and God were enunciated. In view of this covenant they were to make no covenant with the people of the land to which they were going. We have no detailed account of the happenings of this second period in the mount, save that the tables of the law were written anew. Probably in holy silence, Moses looked deeply into the nature of God and thereby was further strengthened for the work that lay before him.

He returned to the people, his face radiant with the glory of this solemn period of communion. He was not conscious of the shining of his face until he learned it from the people. After the words of the law had been delivered, he put a veil on his face. It is in the New Testament we learn clearly the purpose of that veiling. "Moses . . . put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel should not look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away." Whether Moses understood that the fading of the glory on his face was symbolic of the ultimate passing away of the dispensation of Law it is impossible for us to say. It is equally impossible, however, for us to read this story without rejoicing in the fact that the glory which shines in the faces of those who hold communion with God through Jesus Christ increases ever unto the perfect light.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Exodus 34". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.