‘Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the very heaven for clearness. And on the chief men of the children of Israel he did not lay his hand, and they beheld God and ate and drank.'
Following the covenant offer, sacrifice, and final acceptance was the covenant feast which sealed the whole ceremony. This was shared, as it were, between Yahweh and His people as represented by the elders (although noticeably Yahweh does not partake. There is no suggestion of God in human form). This was made possible because the blood had been shed, and the covenant had been sealed. Now His people could meet with Him as His covenant people.
“And they saw the God of Israel.” The sealing of the covenant made a huge difference. The God of Israel now came down to meet them. There was a manifestation of God, probably in the same cloud and fire and smoke of Exodus 19:18; Exodus 23:17. No description is given and we dare not speculate further. But ‘under His feet' was a vision of glorious blue which reminded them of sapphires and the glorious clear blue of the heavens. The fact that this is outlined and emphasised must suggest that His own presence was veiled (compare Isaiah 6:1-6 where Isaiah describes everything but Yahweh).
“He laid not His hand.” They were allowed to see God and live. But it was not in His full glory for this was not even possible for Moses (Exodus 33:22-23).
“And they beheld God and ate and drank.” They feasted with God although God did not feast with them. This covenant feast was an essential part of the making of the covenant. It was a symbol of their now expressed dependence on and fellowship with the Overlord. They were now His vassals. Such feasting would be an essential part of a covenant ceremony.
“The God of Israel.” In Exodus 5:1 He was described as the ‘Yahweh, God of Israel' but here it is the stark declaration of the new position. They have taken Him as their only God, and He is their God alone.