Exodus 24:9 - Ellicott's Commentary On The Whole Bible

Bible Comments

Then went up. — According to the ordinary ideas of the time, the ratification of the covenant was now complete, and nothing more was needed. It pleased God, however, to terminate the whole transaction by a closing scene of extraordinary grandeur, beauty, and spiritual significance. A sacrifice implied a sacrificial meal (Exodus 18:12). Moses understood that God, by summoning Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders into the mount (Exodus 24:1), had intended the sacrificial meal to be held there; and accordingly, as soon as he had sprinkled the people, ascended Sinai with the persons summoned, and had the feast prepared. A sacrificial meal was always regarded as a religious act — an act done “before God” (Exodus 18:12), involving communion with Him. God willed now to signalise this sacrificial feast above all others by making His presence not only felt but seen. As Moses, Aaron with his two sons, and the elders were engaged in the feast (Exodus 24:11), a vision of marvellous splendour broke upon them. “They saw the God of Israel” (Exodus 24:10). God showed Himself to them — not, as before, amid thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud, and fire, and smoke, and earthquake (Exodus 19:16; Exodus 19:18), but in His loveliness (Song of Solomon 5:16) and His beauty, standing on pellucid sapphire, blue as the blue of heaven. They “saw God,” and were neither hurt nor even terrified; they could, while seeing Him, still eat and drink — they felt themselves like guests at His board, as if He were banqueting with them. So was impressed upon them the mild and sweet relation into which they were brought towards God by covenant — a covenant made, and not yet infringed. The gentle, lovely, attractive side of God’s character was shewn to them, instead of the awful and alarming one; and they were taught to look forward to a final state of bliss, in which God’s covenanted servants would dwell in His presence continually.

Exodus 24:9

9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: