Exodus 32:16
And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven on the tables.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) The tables were the work of God.—Rosenmüller supposes this to mean merely that the size and shape of the stones was prescribed to Moses by God; but the natural meaning of the words is that God Himself fashioned them. This was not the case with the second tables (Exodus 34:1; Exodus 34:4).

The writing was the writing of God.—See Note 3 on Exodus 31:18.

32:15-20 What a change it is, to come down from the mount of communion with God, to converse with a wicked world. In God we see nothing but what is pure and pleasing; in the world nothing but what is sinful and provoking. That it might appear an idol is nothing in the world, Moses ground the calf to dust. Mixing this powder with their drink, signified that the backslider in heart should be filled with his own ways.This states a fact which was not revealed to Moses until after his second intercession when he had come down from the mountain and witnessed the sin of the people Exodus 32:30-34. He was then assured that the Lord's love to His ancient people would prevail God is said, in the language of Scripture, to "repent," when His forgiving love is seen by man to blot out the letter of His judgments against sin (2 Samuel 24:16; Joel 2:13; Jonah 3:10, etc.); or when the sin of man seems to human sight to have disappointed the purposes of grace (Genesis 6:6; 1 Samuel 15:35, etc.). The awakened conscience is said to "repent," when, having felt its sin, it feels also the divine forgiveness: it is at this crisis that God, according to the language of Scripture, repents toward the sinner. Thus, the repentance of God made known in and through the One true Mediator reciprocates the repentance of the returning sinner, and reveals to him atonement.15-18. Moses turned, and went down from the mount—The plain, Er-Raheh, is not visible from the top of Jebel Musa, nor can the mount be descended on the side towards that valley; hence Moses and his companion, who on duty had patiently waited his return in the hollow of the mountain's brow, heard the shouting some time before they actually saw the camp. No text from Poole on this verse. And the tables were the work of God,.... And not of angels or men; the stones were made and formed by God into the shape they were:

and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables; the letters in which the law was written were of his framing, devising, and engraving; and this was to show that this law was his own, and contained his mind and will; and to give the greater dignity and authority to it, and to deter men from breaking it.

And the tables were the work of God, and {h} the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

(h) All these repetitions show how excellent a thing they defrauded themselves of by their idolatry.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. the work of God, &c.] See Exodus 24:12, Exodus 31:18 b.Verse 16. - The tables were the work of God. Shaped, i.e., by the same power by which the commandments were inscribed upon them; not, necessarily, of matter newly created for the purpose. "Behold, it is a stiff-necked people (a people with a hard neck, that will not bend to the commandment of God; cf. Exodus 33:3, Exodus 33:5; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6, etc.): now therefore suffer Me, that My wrath may burn against them, and I may consume them, and I will make of thee a great nation." Jehovah, as the unchangeably true and faithful God, would not, and could not, retract the promises which He had given to the patriarchs, or leave them unfulfilled; and therefore if in His wrath He should destroy the nation, which had shown the obduracy of its nature in its speedy apostasy, He would still fulfil His promise in the person of Moses, and make of him a great nation, as He had promised Abraham in Genesis 12:2. When God says to Moses, "Leave Me, allow Me, that My wrath may burn," this is only done, as Gregory the Great expresses it, deprecandi ansam praebere. God puts the fate of the nation into the hand of Moses, that he may remember his mediatorial office, and show himself worthy of his calling. This condescension on the part of God, which placed the preservation or destruction of Israel in the hands of Moses, coupled with a promise, which left the fullest freedom to his decision, viz., that after the destruction of the people he should himself be made a great nation, constituted a great test for Moses, whether he would be willing to give up his own people, laden as they were with guilt, as the price of his own exaltation. And Moses stood the test. The preservation of Israel was dearer to him than the honour of becoming the head and founder of a new kingdom of God. True to his calling as mediator, he entered the breach before God, to turn away His wrath, that He might not destroy the sinful nation (Psalm 106:23). - But what if Moses had not stood the test, had not offered his soul for the preservation of his people, as he is said to have done in Exodus 32:32? Would God in that case have thought him fit to make into a great nation? Unquestionably, if this had occurred, he would not have proved himself fit or worthy of such a call; but as God does not call those who are fit and worthy in themselves, for the accomplishment of His purposes of salvation, but chooses rather the unworthy, and makes them fit for His purposes (2 Corinthians 3:5-6), He might have made even Moses into a great nation. The possibility of such a thing, however, is altogether an abstract thought: the case supposed could not possibly have occurred, since God knows the hearts of His servants, and foresees what they will do, though, notwithstanding His omniscience, He gives to human freedom room enough for self-determination, that He may test the fidelity of His servants. No human speculation, however, can fully explain the conflict between divine providence and human freedom. This promise is referred to by Moses in Deuteronomy 9:14, when he adds the words which God made use of on a subsequent occasion of a similar kind (Numbers 14:12), "I will make of thee a nation stronger and more numerous than this."
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