And I will Give You Rest

Proper 24 Year A

Exodus 33:12-23, Psalm 99
Isaiah 45:1-7, Psalm 96:1-9, (10-13)
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

Exodus 33:12-23

Moses’ Intercession

12 Moses said to the Lord, “See,[1] you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’;[2] but you have not let me know whom[3] you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways,[4] so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”
14 He [God] said, “My presence[5] will go with you,[6] and I will give you rest.”[7]
15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”
17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”
18 Moses said, “Show me your glory,[8] I pray.”
19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness[9] pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord;[10] and I will be gracious[11] to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.[12]  20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.”[13] 21 And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back;[14] but my face[15] shall not be seen.”[16]

[1] “See.” Responds to Exod. 32:1-3, When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron.”
[2] “Bring up this people.” This refers to v. 1, which says, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go, leave this place, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, and go to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’”
[3] “Whom” Possibly referring to the angel referred to in v. 2, “I will send an angel before you.”
[4] “Show me your ways.” Brueggemann paraphrases this as “Come clean with me, Yahweh.” “Tell me who you really are so that I can know how to find favor with you.” (Brueggemann, Cousar, Gaventa, and Newsome, Texts for Preaching:  A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV -- Year A [Louisville:  Westminster John Knox Press, 1995].)
[5] “Presence” (pânı̂ym). Literally “face” (also v. 15), replying to vv. 2-3, and anticipating 34:9. It is the plural (though always used as a singular) of the noun (pâneh); used in a great variety of applications.
[6] “My presence will go with you.” While vv. 2-3 tell us that God will not go with them because “I would consume you” and that he will therefore “send an angel,” here Yahweh himself will go with the Israelites on their journey. So these verses seem to be from various traditions. In 2 Sam 17:11, the NRSV has “in person.” “my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beer-Sheba, like the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person.”.
[7] “Give you rest. HarperCollins Study Bible believes rest (nûach), to be a play in Hebrew on the word lead (32:34) and refers to the settlement of Israel in Canaan (see Deut 3:20; 12:10; Josh 22:4). S.R. Driver calls it “the assured possession of Canaan” (Book of Exodus (Cambridge, 1911), p. 361). See, for example, Deut 3:20, “When the LORD gives rest to your kindred, as to you, and they too have occupied the land that the LORD your God is giving them beyond the Jordan, then each of you may return to the property that I have given to you.”; Deut 12:10, “When you cross over the Jordan and live in the land that the LORD your God is allotting to you, and when he gives you rest from your enemies all around so that you live in safety”; Josh 22:4, “And now the LORD your God has given rest to your kindred, as he promised them; therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan.” Brueggemann, in Texts for Preaching, says scholars are unsure as to its meaning.
[8] “Glory” (kâbôd). The aura of the divine. See Exod. 16:6-7, 10; 24:16; 33:18-23; 40:34-35. From kâbad “weight” or “heaviness.” Note that Moses earlier sought to know God’s name: see 3:13-15; now he seeks to see God’s face as Jacob has done at Peniel/Jabbok: see Genesis 32:30. For other traditions about seeing God, see vv. 7-11 and 34:27-35.
[9] “Goodness” (ṭûb). From ṭôb (to be [or make] good). Could also be used as a noun, as “a Good.” Cf. “fair” in Hos. 10:11.
[10] Heb YHWH; see Ex. 3.14. The name Yahweh is proclaimed here and is connected with God’s nature. It is syntactically connected to “I am who I am,” of 3:14. This could well be an expansion on the explanation of the nature of God.
[11] “Gracious” (chânan). In Hebrew, a cognate meaning to favor (vv. 12, 13, 16, 17). Cf. 34:6.
[12] “In other words, having successfully received from Yahweh the promise of continuing divine presence in the life of the people, Moses now requests of Yahweh personal confirmation that Yahweh is who Yahweh has been presented to be in the past and that he, Moses, is Yahweh’s agent” (HarperCollins).
[13] “No one shall see me and live.” “Gazing directly into the deity’s face is said to be fatal (cf. Ex. 3:20; Isa. 6:5), but seeing an angel or a mitigated divine vision does no harm; see Gen. 32:30; Ex 24:11; Judg 6:22-23; 13:22:33” HarperCollins Study Bible).” Cf. Ex. 19:21: Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go down and warn the people not to break through to the LORD to look; otherwise many of them will perish.’” 
[14] “Back” ('âchôr). Sometimes to be backward, but usually one’s back parts.  
[15] “Face” (pânı̂ym); or presence, see above on v. 14.
[16] “The concept of deity having an awesome, unapproachable appearance was not limited to Israelite theology, for in Mesopotamia the gods displayed their power through their melammu, their divine brilliance.” (Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000].)”