Jehovah tells Moses to leave Mt Sinai and go to the new land, and that he will send an Angel before him to “drive out” (note the language, this is different from what is going to actually happen) to the Canaanite, Amorite, the Hittite, Perizzite, Hivites, and Jebusites. It’s one thing to push people out, it’s another to commit genocide.
The land sounds so beautiful, yet the threat of the presence of Jehovah among them is real and, IN HIS OWN WORDS: Evil:
33:3 – Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.
Once again the author reiterates the source of this particular evil, and there is ZERO mention of the Devil or Satan:
33:4 – And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments.
The entire situation seems tense:
33:5 – For Jehovah had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.
Why couldn’t Jehovah tell them himself? Would this be more effective at the Israelites learning their lesson instead of passing it on to Moses to tell them?
The Israelites were one step away from death-by-Jehovah. Yet at this time Moses distanced himself and all the wondrous items created for the tabernacle by setting up the Tabernacle OUTSIDE of the camp, away from the people. In a somber scene of what could be remorse, the way a punished child stands at the door of his room where he is forced to stay in, watching his siblings eat a treat…
33:8 – And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle
Again, the Israelites are given that human trait of remorse and wonder. Brutally chastised already, they stand in their doorways as Moses poetically disappears into the Tabernacle that is supposed to be a glorious covenant between said people and their patron god. Yet their god stands ready to murder them all in anger, and the people still smart from the punishment already deemed out so they cower in their doorways.
Suddenly, the pillar of cloud appears at the door of the Tabernacle, and the people standing in their doorways worship. How do they worship? Not specified. I picture people falling down on their knees and waving their arms up and down. Not out of true worship and praise, but out of fear.
Grace In Thy Sight
The dialogue and even writing style suddenly shift. The rest of Exodus 33 start and end in a giant contradiction, which to me says the author or the interpretation is leaving very important information and context out, whether purposefully or that the text just a victim of a few thousand years of language and culture evolution.
I reiterate my idea that Jehovah in Exodus is different from the Jehovah that appeared to Adam and the rest of the patriarchs up to Jacob. The characteristics are very different. Keep note of the language of the following verse:
33:11 – And Jehovah spake unto Moses, face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. *
Ok, this sounds like how Jehovah appeared before the patriarchs of Genesis, face to face. The story continues with Moses then leaving the tabernacle towards the camp, but Joshua son of Nun stays in. BTW, I need to see if Joshua is qualified to be in the Tabernacle as laid out by Jehovah’s rules mentioned before.
33:12 – And Moses said unto Jehovah, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.
Moses seems to be putting Jehovah on the spot, the same Jehovah who tried to kill him, but NOW finds grace in his sight. Moses seems to be increasingly bolder in how he speaks with Jehovah, as if he’s pushing his boundaries little by little against the god who supposedly created the heavens and the earth.
Moses continues his quiz to Jehovah, telling Jehovah that if Jehovah is not present, he should not send them forward:
33:16 – For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
Moses is asking for affirmation that he and the Israelites have found grace in the sight of Jehovah, by telling Jehovah that he should be going with them. Also noting that as Jehovah goes with them, they will be separated from everyone else on the earth.
Jehovah replies in the affirmative, Moses has found grace in Jehovah’s sight. Moses goes a step further:
33:18 – And he (Moses) said to he (Jehovah), shew me thy glory
Moses is telling, NOT ASKING, Jehovah to expose his “glory”. This term seems to have taken on it’s own definition these days, however in the past it’s been used to describe light, and Strongs Concordance also calls it splendour, honor. In what contradicts what we know about Jehovah supposedly appearing before the patriarchs:
33:20 – And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
Adam, Cain, Abraham, etc. all, we are told, saw Jehovah and lived. Is this the same god that appeared before them? Or do we have another entity taking on the identity but unable to appear in front of man? If so, just what kind of creature, being, entity is this?
*Also, see how verse 33:20 contradicts 33:11? According to 33:20 Moses should be dead.
In what seems like an effort to hide the majority of his identity to Moses, Jehovah also appears to somehow put Moses in a position to protect him from his glory:
33:22 – And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
The patriarchs never had to go through such a process. What gives? Also, is Jehovah emanating some sort of energy that is dangerous to humans? Some sort of fatal radiation? What comes to mind is the type of regalia and breastplate that those who near the Ark must wear, as if they are wearing protective suits.
Unfortunately, we are not told what exactly Moses saw, so it’s left to our imagination and to search out further clues in future verse. When Jehovah appeared with 2 others before Abraham, it was described as “3 men”. Just what appeared to Moses in Exodus 33?
What should also be noted is the ability for Moses to dictate to Jehovah certain things, when to change his mind about performing evil on his people, when to show himself, etc.
Just who is in charge here?
Is Moses harnessing the powers of this deity yet proclaiming to the Israelites that it is the deity, and not Moses, who is attributed all these strange and wondrous powers? Is Moses merely a magician leading these people to follow a god that they, ironically, are not allowed to see or be near? A god who has wonders that today we would call natural cataclysmic events?
After all, Moses came out of Egypt, and we know there were powerful Egyptian magicians who could match the powers demonstrated by Moses and his staff. I hope this will be put into better context in future verse. What happens if Moses loses his staff? If the Ark is not around?