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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Exodus 32

Verse 1


This is a most interesting Chapter, but no less distressing to read. We have therein related to us, that God, by his divine foreknowledge, having seen, that in consequence of Moses being with him longer in the Mount than the people below in the camp expected, they fell away to idolatry: the Lord commands Moses to go down to the people: the Lord informs his servant what had taken place during his absence; Moses intercedes for the people: Moses descends from the Mount; arrives at the Camp: beholds the idol of the people: his anger is so great that he casts the Tables of Testimony, which the Lord had given him, out of his hands, and they are broken; the conference between Moses and the people, and Moses returns unto the Lord.

Exodus 32:1

Observe, what unbelief induceth in the heart of man. Believers have too much of this in them. The Lord Jesus is gone up into the heaven of heavens, there to appear in the presence of God for his people; and yet how often do they cry out in doubts and misgivings. Isaiah 40:27 ; Psalms 13:1-2 . And ungodly men are here from led to question the truth of divine promises. 2 Peter 3:4 . It was this impious disregard of the divine threatenings which induced the wicked servant, in the parable, to smite his fellow servants. Matthew 24:48 .

Verse 2

Did Aaron consent to their impious proposal through fear? Proverbs 29:25 .

Verses 3-4

What an awful account! Psalms 106:20-21 .

Verses 5-6

Compare this account with what is said, Exodus 24:7 . then read that scripture, which can never be too often read, Jeremiah 17:9 . Observe how the Psalmist remarks this sin, being so highly aggravated, in that it was done in Horeb, that memorable spot, where the people had such evidences of the divine presence. Psalms 106:19 . Observe also, the Apostle's remark upon it, 1 Corinthians 10:6-7 . Reader! remark, that at the very moment the Lord, in the mount, was ordaining Aaron with peculiar honors to the priesthood, Aaron was aiding the Israelites to idolatry. Well might the Apostle say, the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity. Hebrews 7:28 . Sweet are those verses concerning it. Hebrews 7:26-27 .

Verse 7

Observe God's knowledge. Proverbs 15:3 .

Verse 8

James 1:14 .

Verses 9-10

Deuteronomy 9:13-14 . There is somewhat very interesting if spiritually considered, in this reasoning of Jehovah with Moses.

Verses 11-13

If we lose sight of Moses in this place, in order to behold him whom Moses typified, even the Lord Jesus Christ, in his glorious character of intercessor, this passage is uncommonly beautiful. Isaiah 59:16 .

Verse 14

Psa_106:23; Psa_106:45 .

Verses 15-16

2 Corinthians 3:3 .

Verses 17-18

2 Corinthians 12:2-4 . Those who are much in communion with God will, on their return to the world, feel somewhat like this, from not being conversant with such language.

Verse 19

This zeal of Moses is not reproved, see Deuteronomy 9:17 . Reader! remember his zeal, John 2:13-17 .

Verse 20

Perhaps this was done to convince the children of Israel, how contemptible must be such gods which could be so reduced to nothing. 1 Corinthians 8:4 .

Verse 21

So great a sin. It appears that, but for the intercession of Moses, Aaron would have been cut off for it, see Deuteronomy 9:20 . But reader! remember in all this Moses only typified Christ.

Verses 22-24

Observe how all sinners endeavor to put off their sins on others; see Genesis 3:12-13 .

Verse 25

Genesis 3:10 .

Verse 26

Malachi 2:4-6 .

Verse 27

Deuteronomy 13:9 .

Verses 28-29

The approbation of this deed, in the house of Levi, Moses records in the close of his life. Deuteronomy 33:9 .

Verse 30

Isaiah 58:1 .

Verse 31

Observe, Moses doth not now presume to say that they are the Lord's people, but he calls them this people. Observe how he pleads for great mercy, because of great transgression. David uses the same argument in after ages. Psalms 25:11 . But was not Moses in all this a type of the Lord Jesus?

Verse 32

How striking is the type here; only, indeed, with this difference, that Moses did but offer to die, whereas the Lord Jesus did actually die, the just for the unjust, to bring sinners to God. See those sweet scriptures, Daniel 9:26 ; Isaiah 53:8 ; John 10:11 .

Verse 33

And was not this in reality done, when, by the Lord Jesus assuming our nature, taking upon him our guilt, and becoming our surety, he gave himself a ransom for all? See 2 Corinthians 5:21 ; Galatians 3:13 .

Verse 34

I venture to believe that this angel was not the Almighty angel of the covenant, but only some ordinary servant in token of God's displeasure. See Exodus 33:2 .

Verse 35

Psalms 89:30-32 ; Acts 7:41-42 .


In perusing this account of Israel's shameful apostacy from the Lord God of their salvation, alter the many mercies which they had received, both in their deliverance from Egypt, and especially the tokens of his divine presence on Mount Sinai, what do we read in it but the same melancholy account of our poor, sinful, fallen nature, ever prone to depart from God, and making to itself idols of its own corrupt fancy. Oh! Lord, may it be mine and the Reader's mercy to know, that in ourselves we are not better than they, but of the same stock and root, of whom it is truly said, that there is none good no, not one.

But chiefly in the perusal of this chapter may I behold him of whom Moses was a type, standing up in the glorious character of our intercessor, to make reconciliation for the sins of his people. Yes! thou dear Redeemer, thou art he whom the man of God here represented: thou didst, indeed, take the whole weight of our guilt upon thyself, when, in the eye of God's righteous law, thou didst undertake our salvation, by consenting to become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in thee. Oh! bring me, by the sweet influences of thy blessed Spirit, under thy shelter; and since thou hast done away sin by the sacrifice of thyself, may my soul rejoice in thy great salvation, and triumph in the name of the Lord my God.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 32". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.