[b-hebrew] Exodus 33:11-23
tladatsi at charter.net
tladatsi at charter.net
Thu Sep 8 00:49:32 EDT 2005
Would someone be so kind as to help me out with Exodus
33:12-23. Without getting into whether the passage is
literal and anthropomorphic or figurative and metaphorical,
I cannot make heads or tales out of it either way. I have
read it in Hebrew as best I can and I have read several
translations into English (KJV, NIV, ASV, NASB, and RSV)
and it is still a mystery to me.
The best I can make in a condensed form:
Moses: I am uncomfortable being the leader of these people
because I am uncertain if I really know how to continue to
please you, no matter how much success I have had in the
past. Teach me your ways so I can always please you.
Yahweh: My FACE (presence) will go with you, which will
make you comfortable.
Moses: But what if your FACE does not go with me, how will
people know you favor me? How will our people be
distinguished from the other people on the FACE of the
Yahweh: I will do what you ask because you please me. [At
this point the only thing Moses has asked is to be taught
Moses: Show me your glory. [This seems like a non-
sequitur unless it means to be taught Yahweh?s ways]
Yahweh: I will pass my goodness by your FACE and cry out by
the name Yahweh to your FACE. [Moses did not ask to see
his goodness or hear him cry out].
I favor who is the favorite (vehanotiy et-asher ahon) and I
love who is the beloved (verihametiy et-asher arahem).
[This seems to parallel Ex 3:14 eheyeh asher eheyeh.]
No man may see my FACE and live. [Yet in Ex 33:11, just a
few passages earlier Yahweh and Moses spoke paniym el-
paniym as a man does with a friend]
Stand on this rock near me. When my glory passes I will
put you into a crevice (fissure or hole) in the rock and
cover you with my hand.
When I finish passing by I will remove my hand you can see
my backside but not my FACE.
Yahweh is pleased with Moses and will grant his wish.
Moses asked to be taught the ways of Yahweh or to see his
glory. Moses wasn?t taught anything and did not see
Yahweh?s glory. God went to great lengths to ensure that
Moses did not see Yahweh?s face despite the fact Moses did
not ask to see it (although Moses seems to have seen in Ex
33:11 and Deu 34:10). Moses did see Yahweh?s goodness,
hear Yahweh cry out, and saw his backside from a hole in a
What happened here? Did I mistranslate something or do I
simply not understand what the words mean? Is there some
literary or historical context I missing? Also, there has
to be some reason the author used the word FACE (paniy,
paneyka) at every possible opportunity. Thanks in advance.
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