Exodus 32:34
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”

King James Bible
Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.

American Standard Version
And now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine angel shall go before thee; nevertheless in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But go thou, and lead this people whither I have told thee: my angel shall go before thee. And I in the day of revenge will visit this sin also of theirs.

English Revised Version
And now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.

Webster's Bible Translation
Therefore now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to thee: Behold, my angel shall go before thee: Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.

Exodus 32:34 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The Levites had to allow their obedience to God to be subjected to a severe test. Moses issued this command to them in the name of Jehovah the God of Israel: "Let every one gird on his sword, and go to and fro through the camp from one gate (end) to the other, and put to death brothers, friends, and neighbours," i.e., all whom they met, without regard to relationship, friendship, or acquaintance. And they stood the test. About 3000 men fell by their sword on that day. There are several difficulties connected with this account, which have furnished occasion for doubts as to its historical credibility. The one of least importance is that which arises from the supposed severity and recklessness of Moses' proceedings. The severity of the punishment corresponded to the magnitude of the crime. The worship of an image, being a manifest transgression of one of the fundamental laws of the covenant, was a breach of the covenant, and as such a capital crime, bringing the punishment of death or extermination in its train. Now, although the whole nation had been guilty of this crime, yet in this, as in every other rebellion, the guilt of all would not be the same, but many would simply follow the example of others; so that, instead of punishing all alike, it was necessary that a separation should be made, if not between the innocent and guilty, yet between the penitent and the stiff-necked transgressors. To effect this separation, Moses called out into the camp: "Over to me, whoever is for the Lord!" All the Levites responded to his call, but not the other tribes; and it was necessary that the refractory should be punished. Even these, however, had not all sinned to the same extent, but might be divided into tempters and tempted; and as they were all mixed up together, nothing remained but to adopt that kind of punishment, which has been resorted to in all ages in such circumstances as these. "If at any time," as Calvin says, "mutiny has broken out in an army, and has led to violence, and even to bloodshed, by universal law a commander proceeds to decimate the guilty." He then adds, "How much milder, however, was the punishment here, when out of six hundred thousand only three thousand were put to death!" This decimation Moses committed to the Levites; and just as in every other decimation the selection must be determined by lot or accidental choice, so here Moses left it to be determined by chance, upon whom the sword of the Levites would fall, knowing very well that even the so-called chance would be under the direction of God.

There is apparently a greater difficulty in the fact, that not only did the Levites execute the command of Moses without reserve, but the people let them pass through the camp, and kill every one who came within reach of their sword, without offering the slightest resistance. To remove this difficulty, there is no necessity that we should either assume that the Levites knew who were the originators and ringleaders of the worship of the calf, and only used their swords against them, as Calvin does, or that we should follow Kurtz, and introduce into the text a "formal conflict between the two parties, in which some of Moses' party were also slain," since the history says nothing about "the men who sided with Moses gaining a complete victory," and merely states that in obedience to the word of Jehovah the God of Israel, as declared by Moses, they put 3000 men of the people to death with the sword. The obedience of the Levites was an act of faith, which knows neither the fear of man nor regard to person. The unresisting attitude of the people generally may be explained, partly from their reverence for Moses, whom God had so mightily and marvellously accredited as His servant in the sight of all the nation, and partly from the despondency and fear so natural to a guilty conscience, which took away all capacity for opposing the bold and determined course that was adopted by the divinely appointed rulers and their servants in obedience to the command of God. It must also be borne in mind, that in the present instance the sin of the people was not connected with any rebellion against Moses.

Very different explanations have been given of the words which were spoken by Moses to the Levites (Exodus 32:29): "Fill your hand to-day for Jehovah; for every one against his son and against his brother, and to bring a blessing upon you to-day." "To fill the hand for Jehovah" does not mean to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, but to provide something to offer to God (1 Chronicles 29:5; 2 Chronicles 29:31). Thus Jonathan's explanation, which Kurtz has revived in a modified form, viz., that Moses commanded the Levites to offer sacrifices as an expiation for the blood that they had shed, or for the rent made in the congregation by their reckless slaughter of their blood-relations, falls to the ground; though we cannot understand how the fulfilment of a divine command, or an act of obedience to the declared will of God, could be regarded as blood-guiltiness, or as a crime that needed expiation. As far as the clause which follows is concerned, so much is clear, viz., that the words can neither be rendered, "for every one is in his son," etc., nor "for every one was against his son," etc. To the former it is impossible to attach any sense; and the latter cannot be correct, because the preterite חיח could not be omitted after an imperative, if the explanatory clause referred to what was past. If כּי were a causal particle in this case, the meaning could only be, "for every one shall be against his son," etc. But it is much better to understand it as indicating the object, "that every one may be against his son and against his brother;" i.e., that in the cause of the Lord every one may not spare eve his nearest relative, but deny either son or brother for the Lord's sake (Deuteronomy 33:9). "And to give" (or bring), i.e., so that ye may bring, a blessing upon yourselves to-day." The following, then, is the thought contained in the verse: Provide yourselves to-day with a gift for the Lord, consecrate yourselves to-day for the service of the Lord, by preserving the obedience you have just shown towards Him, by not knowing either son or brother in His service, and thus gain for yourselves a blessing. In the fulfilment of the command of God, with the denial of their own flesh and blood, Moses discerns such a disposition and act as would fit them for the service of the Lord. He therefore points to the blessing which it would bring them, and exhorts them by their election as the peculiar possession of Jehovah (Numbers 3-4), which would be secured to them from this time forward, to persevere in this fidelity to the Lord. "The zeal of the tribe-father burned still in the Levites; but this time it was for the glory of God, and not for their own. Their ancestor had violated both truth and justice by his vengeance upon the Shechemites, from a false regard to blood-relationship, but now his descendants had saved truth, justice, and the covenant by avenging Jehovah upon their own relations" (Kurtz, and Oehler in Herzog's Cycl.), so that the curse which rested upon them (Genesis 49:7) could now be turned into a blessing (cf. Deuteronomy 33:9).

Exodus 32:34 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

mine Angel

Exodus 23:20 Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.

Exodus 33:2,14,15 And I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite...

Numbers 20:16 And when we cried to the LORD, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and has brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold...

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them...

the day

Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God...

Numbers 14:27-30 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel...

Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongs vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand...

Jeremiah 5:9,29 Shall I not visit for these things? said the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this...

Amos 3:14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel on him I will also visit the altars of Bethel...

Matthew 23:35 That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth...

Romans 2:4-6 Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering...

Cross References
Romans 2:5
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

Romans 2:6
He will render to each one according to his works:

Exodus 3:17
and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey."'

Exodus 15:17
You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O LORD, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.

Exodus 23:20
"Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.

Exodus 33:2
I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Exodus 33:12
Moses said to the LORD, "See, you say to me, 'Bring up this people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.'

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