Exodus 24:12-18

Exodus 24:12-18
Transfiguration A13


12 The LordA said to Moses,B “Come up to me on the mountain, and waitC there; and I will give you the tabletsD of stone, with the lawE and the commandment,F which I have written for their instruction.”G

Notes on verse 12

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “Moses” = mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
C “wait” = hayah. To be, happen, exist.
D “tablets” = luach. Root likely means glistening, so this would refer to a tablet as being polished in some sense, whether it’s made of stone, wood, or metal.
E “law” = torah. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach). This is law, instruction, teaching, or statute. It can also refer to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah.
F “commandment” = mitsvah. From tsavah (to charge, command, order, enjoin). This is a commandment, law, ordinance obligation, or tradition. It is something commanded whether by God or by a human authority. This term is sometimes used collectively to refer to the Law.
G “instruction” = yarah. Related to “law” in v12. See note D above.

13 So Moses set outH with his assistant Joshua,I and Moses went up into the mountain of God.J 14 To the eldersK he had said, “WaitL here for us, until we come to you again;M forN AaronO and HurP are with you; whoever has a dispute may goQ to them.”

Notes on verses 13-14

H “set out” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
I “Joshua” = Yehoshua. From YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone).} This is Joshua, Jeshua, or Yehoshua, which means “the Lord is salvation.”
J “God” = Elohim.
K “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
L “wait” = yashab. Different word from “wait” in v12. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
M “come…again” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
N {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
O “Aaron” = aharon. Derivation uncertain. May mean “bearer of martyrs” OR be related to Ancient Egyptian ꜥḥꜣ rw (warrior lion) OR elevated, exalted, high mountain. This is Aaron. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Aaron
P “Hur” = chur. 15x in NT. From chavar (to be or become white or pale) OR from the same as chur (white things, white, white linen) OR from the same as chur (hole; a hole that was bored; a crevice where a snake lives; the cell of a prison). This is Hur or Chur, its meaning is uncertain.
Q “go” = nagash. This is draw near or approach. Euphemistically, it can refer to sex or it can be preparing to attack an enemy. It can be used for worship or merely to indicate being present.

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloudR covered the mountain. 16 The gloryS of the Lord settledT on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for sixU days; on the seventhV day he called to Moses out of the cloud. 

Notes on verses 15-16

R “cloud” = anan. May be from anan (cover, cloud over; figuratively, acting in a secret way, practicing magic or soothsaying). This is a cloud as something that covers the sky.
S “glory” = kabod. From kabad (to be heavy, weighty, burdensome). This is weighty. Figuratively, glorious, abundant, riches, honor, splendor – a reference to one’s reputation or character. This word is often used to describe God and God’s presence.
T “settled” = shakan. This is to settle down in the sense of residing somewhere or staying there permanently. It can mean abide or continue. “Mishkan,” taken from this verb, is the Hebrew word for the Tabernacle (as a place where God abided).
U “six” = shesh. Since five is the number of fingers in a hand, six was considered an over-plus – a bit of a bounty.
V “seventh” = shebii. From sheba (seven, seven time; implies a week or an indefinite number). Seven was considered the number of holy perfection.

17 Now the appearanceW of the glory of the Lord was like a devouringX fire on the top of the mountain in the sightY of the peopleZ of Israel.AA 18 Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Notes on verses 17-18

W “appearance” = mareh. From raah (to see). This is sight, vision, form, appearance, the act of seeing, or something attractive.
X “devouring” = akal. To eat, burn up, or consume. This is eat in a literal or figurative sense.
Y “sight” = ayin. This is eye literally or figuratively. It can also mean outward appearance or, by analogy, a fountain.
Z “people” = ben. Literally the “sons of Israel.”
AA “Israel” = yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

Image Credit: “Moses and the Ten Commandments” at the Or Torah Synagogue in Acre, Israel.

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