christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

exodus 33:12-34:26, chol ha’moed pesach, “intermediate days of passover”

Read Exodus 33:12-24:26 at Bible Gateway.

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic. The paragraph divisions reveal the chiastic structures: narratives which zero in on the main point of the narrative at its center, like a bull’s eye at the center of a target. The main point is revealed, because the narrative elements before the main point (or central axis) are repeated after the central axis, in reverse order, while the central axis itself is not repeated.)

The Hebrew paragraph divisions for chol ha’moed pesach are:

Exo 33:12-16 {p} My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest
Exo 33:17-23 {p} Plea of Moses: Show me Your glory
Exo 34:1-26 {p} The renewal of the covenant

Each of these strong paragraphs forms its own chiastic structure:

Exo 33:12-16 {p} My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest

Exo 33:12-16 p
1a) Exo 33:12-13, Bring up this people + grace + knowing + the Lord’s people:
– 1a.1) Exo 33:12a, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but who will You send with me?;
– 1a.2) Exo 33:12b-13a, If I have found grace in Your sight, show me Your way that I may know You;
– 1a.3) Exo 33:13b, This nation is Your people;
central axis) Exo 33:14, And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest;”
2a) Exo 33:15-16, Do not bring up this people + grace + knowing + Your separate people:
– 2a.1) Exo 33:15, If Your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here;
– 2a.2) Exo 33:16a, How will it be known that we have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us?;
– 2a.3) Exo 33:16b, This nation — Your people — is separate from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.

Exo 33:17-23 {p} Plea of Moses: Show me Your glory

Exo 33:17-23 p is made up of two chaistic structures:

Exo 33:17-19
1a) Exo 33:17a, For you have found grace in My sight;
1b) Exo 33:17b, And I know you by name;
central axis) Exo 33:18, And Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory;”
2b) Exo 33:19a, My goodness will pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you;
2a) Exo 33:19b, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Exo 33:20-23
1a) Exo 33:20, You cannot see My face;
1b) Exo 33:21, Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand upon the rock;
central axis) Exo 33:22a, So it shall be, while My glory passes by;
2b) Exo 33:22b, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand;
2a) Exo 33:23, You shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.

Exo 34:1-26 {p} The renewal of the covenant

Exo 34:1-26
1a) Exo 34:1-4, Two tablets of stone like the first tablets + the words of the first tablets;
1b) Exo 34:5-7, The glory and the name of YHVH proclaimed: merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, true, forgiving, just;
central axis) Exo 34:8, So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped;
2b) Exo 34:9, Moses: As You are gracious and forgiving, go with us + take us for Your inheritance;
2a) Exo 34:10-26, The words of the covenant renewed (observe My commandments).

Moses asked to be shown two things: Show me Your way that I might know You, and Show me Your glory. The final strong paragraph of Exo 34:1-36 contains the account of the Lord proclaiming His name YHVH before Moses. His name is intertwined with His character and attributes of gracious, mercy, compassion, longsuffering, goodness, truth, and justice. His name YHVH, I Am That I Am, and His attributes are intertwined with His glory. His greatness, His goodness, and His glory calls forth the only appropriate response from Moses: he bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

There is a reason the strong paragraph whose central theme is the proclamation of the glory of the Lord, and man’s worship in response, is bookended with the words of the two tablets like the first tablets. His character and His nature cannot be separated from His commandments. His commandments express His way. When we are shown His way of walking, explained as commandments, we see His character and His nature – which is His glory – then we know Him.

Why is this the Torah portion for the intermediate days of Unleavened Bread? God has mercy and grace toward us, in forgiving us our iniquity, trespass, and sin (Passover) and our response to Him is to observe His commandments – not to allow sin to find a home in us, but to purge out the old leaven (Unleavened Bread, 1 Cor 5:7). That is our reasonable service of worship (Rom 12:1).


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