Exodus 24:1 - L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Bible Comments



Having finished declaring the rules and regulations connected with the law, the Lord tells Moses to come up to Him in the mountain, and to take with him Aaron, Nadab and Abihu (Aaron's sons) as well as seventy of the elders of Israel (v.1). A group therefore was selected to have a place above the people, which is consistent with the character of law, but having no place whatever in the church of God today, for all believers are seen as priests in God's dealings now (1 Peter 2:5).

Yet Moses alone was allowed to come near to God (v.2). In this he is typical of Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 12:24).

Before going up, however, Moses told the people all that the Lord had spoken, His ordinances and judgments (v.3). The people unitedly answered that they would obey all that the Lord had commanded. Before they had heard these things they promised to obey (ch.19:8). Now in hearing, they speak the same.

Then Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. He built an altar along with twelve pillars which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. Then young men (not elders nor priests) of the children of Israel were sent to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord (v.5). The very fact of these offerings intimates that Israel's promise was not going to be kept: they would require the shedding of blood because of their disobedience. Yet this blood could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4).

Moses sprinkled half of the blood on the altar, then read the book of the covenant to all the people. For the third time they made the self-confident promise that they would do all that the Lord commanded. How little they knew their own hearts! But Moses then sprinkled the remainder of the blood on the people, declaring to them that this was the blood of the covenant that the Lord had made with them. Typically this warned them that disobedience would require the shedding of blood -- and not just the blood of an animal. Hebrews 9:18-22 comments on this occasion, insisting also that "without shedding of blood there is no remission."



In obedience to verses 1-2 Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, together with 70 of the elders of Israel went up into the mountain (v.9). This large group of witnesses took away any suspicion of the people that Moses might be in any way deceiving them. These men must be impressed with the greatness of the glory of the Lord. We are told, "they saw the God of Israel" (v.10).

The meaning of this must be considered in the light ofJohn 1:18: "No one has seen God at any time," and 1 Timothy 6:16; "Whom no man has seen or can see." Therefore it was not God personally whom they saw, but evidently some partial manifestation of His nature or character, for the language is symbolical that tells us, "there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity" (v.10). This appears to be a vision that would inspire awe in all who were observers, realizing that it was indeed the great God of creation who was dealing with them. Compare the vision of Ezekiel 1:1-28, which ends with the words, "This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" (v.28).



Moses now is to be separated from Aaron, his sons and the 70 nobles, as the Lord calls him up into the mountain in order to give him the tables of stone on which the ten commandments would be written by God. Joshua had not been mentioned before, but had evidently also come with the group as the personal attendant of Moses. Now he goes with Moses (v.13), and was evidently with him during the whole time in the mount. Moses leaves instructions that Aaron and Hur can be consulted as to any problems that might arise (v.14).

As Moses went up a cloud covered the mountain, evidently the shekinah glory cloud (vs.15-16), and on the seventh day of this obscurity the Lord called to Moses out of the cloud. To the children of Israel below the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire (v.17). Moses then remained in the mountain altogether forty days and forty nights. Forty is the number of testing: this was a test not only for Moses, but for all Israel, -- a test which issued in Israel's failure.

Exodus 24:1-18

1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.

2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.

4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.

6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

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

10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.

13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.

14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.

15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.

16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.