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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Exodus 34

Verse 1


The Lord having in his great mercy received Israel again into favour, commenceth the treaty afresh, which had been interrupted by their idolatry. Moses is commanded to prepare two tables of stone, and to come up to God into the mount: there the Lord proclaims himself a gracious God, in covenant with his people. God renews his promise of Canaan: appoints certain offerings, which the people are to offer: in the return of Moses to the people, the skin of his face shone. These are the contents of this Chapter.

Verses 1-2

Observe: the first tables, as well as the writing upon them, were wholly of the Lord. But these must now be hewn, and prepared by Moses. Is not the spiritual sense of it this? The original law, in the time of man's innocency, was written in the tables of the heart; and both the tables and the writing, were from the Lord. But when man by sin had broken the law, the ministry of man, like Moses, is made use of, but the law itself, even the scriptures of truth, are still of God. Reader! what a mercy is it that when you and I have by sin broken God's law, the Lord again writes his law, by his Spirit, upon our hearts. Jeremiah 31:31-34 , with Hebrews 8:10 .

Verse 3

Sweet is the private communion of God with the soul. See John 14:21 .

Verses 4-6

What a solemn but yet gracious manifestation is here made of God. This is one of the most striking sermons in the Bible. God himself is the preacher, and God himself in his covenant engagements is the sum and substance of it. Oh! how sweetly in all the after discourses of the Word of God are the same characters proclaimed. Was not that of the Lord Jesus a similar manifestation of glory. Luke 11:28-36 ?

Verse 7

Reader! amidst all those precious declarations, that is not the smallest of them, that the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. For when, in the covenant of redemption, by the blood and righteousness of Christ, the Lord Jesus appeared and suffered, as a surety, and sponsor, for his people; the utmost exaction was made and paid to the righteousness of God's law. So that to every true believer in Jesus, who seeks justification before God, in the finished salvation of the Lord Jesus, this perfection of God's righteousness, which will by no means clear the guilty without a satisfaction, is as dear to the heart as his mercy. Here that scripture was fulfilled, Psalms 85:10 .

Verse 8

Reader! remark that God, even in his mercies, is awful. Psalms 89:7 .

Verse 9

Isa_48:4; Isa_48:8-11 .

Verse 10

Observe how God's mercies are ushered in with a note of admiration, behold! Covenant mercies are indeed marvellous things. So think his people. Psalms 98:1 . So think the world, Psalms 126:1-2 .

Verse 11

God drives out nations, to make room for his chosen, Psalms 80:8 ; Isaiah 43:4 .

Verses 12-17

The same precepts are of everlasting obligation, in all ages of the Church, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 .

Verse 18

Exodus 12:19-20 ; Deuteronomy 16:3 .

Verse 19

Luke 2:21-24 .

Verse 20

Numbers 18:15 .

Verse 21

Genesis 2:2 .

Verse 22

This is the second of the great Jewish feasts; the feast of Pentecost; here called the feast of weeks. See Acts 2:1 . And the third is, that of the ingathering of the fruits.

Verse 23

Deuteronomy 16:16 .

Verse 24

Observe the over-ruling power of God in this promise, that during the people's religious observance of those feasts, none should come up to invade their land. Genesis 35:5 .

Verse 25

Was not the sacrifice without leaven, meant to show, that nothing is to be mixed in offering with the perfect sacrifice of Christ? Isaiah 63:3 . See Exodus 12:10 .

Verse 26

Exodus 23:19 .

Verse 27

Deuteronomy 5:2-3 .

Verse 28

Was not Moses in this a type of the ever blessed Jesus? Matthew 4:2 .

Verse 29

Was not Moses here also in his shining countenance a type of the Lord Jesus? See Matthew 17:2 . And was not this also intended to show that by communion with God, a brightness and splendour is communicated to believers? 2 Corinthians 3:18 . Reader! may the Lord grant that the frequency and fervency of our communion with the Lord, may indicate to all around, that we have been much with Jesus. Acts 4:13 .

Verse 30

Doth not this fear of Aaron and the people, teach us how a sanctity of life overawes the ungodly? 2 Corinthians 3:7-9 .

Verses 31-35

Paul is the best commentator on this passage. 2 Corinthians 3:13-15 . Blessed be God! the vail is done away, in the person and righteousness of Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:10 .

Verse 35


What a precious scripture is that, and what a full explanation doth it afford, to this whole Chapter: The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Lord I would pray, write thy laws upon my heart, and while, by the sweet influences of thy Holy Spirit, I am made both able and willing to run the way of thy commandments, now thou hast set my heart at liberty, may my soul be constantly strengthened and established in that precious assurance, that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to me, and to everyone that believeth.

Blessed God! may the perusal of thy servant's privilege and enjoyment in the holy mount of communion with thee, make my soul long after such sweet and reviving manifestations of thy glory, in covenant mercies, that I may know what it is to enjoy fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Oh! let the continual actings of faith, and the exercises of grace, be going forth by the Spirit's work, in my heart, on each of the persons of the Godhead. And may the frequent communications of Jesus' love have this blessed effect on my heart, that, as the face of Moses shone, so the conversation of my lips may denote with whom I have been most in communion. Grant, blessed God, this may be my mercy, that from beholding with open face as in a glass the glory of the Lord, I may be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 34". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.