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EXODUS - CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR
Verses 1, 2:
These verses are not out of place. They are God’s instructions to Moses while he was still on the mountain (Ex 19:20). He was to carry them out when he returned to the Mount after hallowing Israel and relaying to them the words of the Law.
Nadab and Abihu were Aaron’s two eldest sons, and were the natural successors to the priesthood. Their sin in offering "strange fire" (Le 10:1, 2) did not occur until much later.
Aaron, his sons, and seventy elders of Israel were to accompany Moses only part of the way up the Mount. Moses was to return alone to confer with Jehovah.
Moses descended from the Mount and relayed to the people all the laws God had given, recorded in the last three chapters. All the people readily pledged to do all God had commanded. Subsequent events show that they were unwilling or unable to keep their pledge.
Moses then wrote the Lord’s words in a book. Early the next morning he built an altar upon which to make the sacrifice that would ratify the covenant Israel had made with Jehovah, to obey all He had commanded.
"Young men" were likely the firstborn sons, who were next in line for the priesthood in their families. This was prior to the establishment of the Aaronic priesthood.
The blood of the sacrificial animals symbolized their life, and was an essential part of the ’sacrifice. It was usually poured or sprinkled upon the altar. In this instance, Moses put half of the blood in basins, to be sprinkled upon the people. This signified the unity of the people in their solemn pledge to the Covenant (cf. Heb 9:18-20). Following the usual custom, the other half was then sprinkled upon the altar.
Once more Moses reported to Israel the legislation Jehovah had given on the Mount, this time reading it from the "Book of the Covenant" which he had written, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, 2Pe 1:21. And once more the people solemnly promised to obey all God had commanded.
Moses ratified the Covenant by sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice "on the people." It is unlikely that this included each individual Israelite, as they numbered about two million people. It is more likely that the "elders" were sprinkled as symbolic of the entire nation.
The sprinkling of the blood on both the altar and the people denoted the unity of the people with the altar, in the ratification of the Covenant.
Those individuals named in verse 1 ascended part of the way up the Mount. They clearly did not go all the way to the summit, for Moses alone was allowed this experience. There on the mountain side, all seventy-four men saw "the God of Israel." The text does not record in what form He appeared. Likely it was a human form.
Under the feet of God, the men saw as it were a pavement of sapphire, clear and blue as the skies of heaven. They were not smitten with death, or disease, or blindness (see Ge 32:30 Ex 32:20; Jg 6:22, 23, et. al.). The text implies they saw God as they partook of the sacrificial meal.
The text implies that Moses and the elders had descended to the plain at the foot of the Mount, following the sacrificial meal (compare v. 14 and Ex 32:1). Jehovah summoned Moses to reascend the Mount, and to remain for further instructions.
"Tables of stone, a law, commandments," lit. "tables of stone, the law, the commandments." The law was written in stone with Jehovah’s own "finger" (Ex 21:18; De 9:10). "Tables" luach, "tablet, boards" of stone, to symbolize the permanence of the law and the commandments. These "commandments" were not in addition to those given orally and then recorded by Moses in the Book of the Covenant; they amplified, explained, and detailed the commandments and laws.
Moses appointed Aaron and Hur to act as judges in his absence. He gave specific instructions that the elders and Israel were to remain where they were until his return, no matter when that should be.
Moses took Joshua with him part of the way up the Mount. There they waited for six days as God manifested His presence upon the Mount. This was likely a period of consecration and preparation for Moses to proceed into Divine presence.
The appearance of the Mount was as if fire and smoke covered its summit. It was an awesome sight.
On the seventh day, Jehovah called Moses to ascend alone to the top of the Mount. There he remained for forty days and forty nights, fasting (De 9:9) anal communing with God.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Exodus 24". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany