Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. You, Aaron, &c. The people had heard the voice of the Lord, as it were the sound of thunder, giving the foregoing commands; which Moses explains to them distinctly (ver. 3,) by the mouth of Aaron; and afterwards draws up a memorial of their solemn ratification. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Titles. That is, pillars; (Challoner) or altars, round that made of turf; (chap. xx. 24,) which represented God. Part of the blood was poured upon this altar, and the rest upon the Hebrews, to remind them, that if they proved rebellious, their blood should be spilt. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Holocausts: whole burnt-offerings: in which the whole sacrifice was consumed with fire, upon the altar. (Challoner) — It is not said that these young men were to officiate as priests. Moses acted alone in this capacity, pouring the blood. — Calves, and he-goats also, Hebrews ix. 19. The book was also sprinkled with the blood (Calmet) mixed with water; for which purpose scarlet wool and hyssop were employed, as St. Paul learnt from tradition, or by inspiration. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Covenant. Thus Christ confirmed the new covenant, by the effusion of his blood. (Tirinus) — This is daily renewed upon our altars for ever. (Calmet) — Our Saviour alludes to this transaction in the consecration of the chalice. (Du Hamel) — If wine alone had been substituted instead of blood, the figure would have surpassed the reality. (Isichius.) (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Saw God, under the appearance of a burning fire, ver. 17. They beheld some rays of his glory, but no distinct similitude, (Deuteronomy iv. 15,) though Cajetan thinks that God appeared in a human form. (Calmet) — Drink. They made a feast of thanksgiving for so great a favour, and for the preservation of their lives, after beholding such a glorious apparation. (Vatable)
Ver. 14. Wait ye. They returned soon to the camp; and the people not perceiving Moses with them, and supposing he was dead, made the golden calf.
Ver. 16. Called him, to come up still higher, while Josue remained there.
Ver. 18. Forty, including the six mentioned before, ver. 16. The Rabbins pretend that Moses received the written law during the days, and their traditions during the nights. (R. Bechai ap. Buxtorf, syn. 1.) (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Moses writeth his law; and after offering sacrifices, sprinkleth the blood of the testament upon the people: then goeth up the mountain, which God covereth with a fiery cloud.
1 And he said to Moses: Come up to the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab and Abiu, and seventy of the ancients of Israel, and you shall adore afar off.
2 And Moses alone shall come up to the Lord, but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people come up with him.
3 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice: We will do all the words of the Lord, which he hath spoken.
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord: and rising in the morning, he built an altar at the foot of the mount, and twelve titles according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, and they offered holocausts, and sacrificed pacific victims of calves to the Lord.
6 Then Moses took half of the blood, and put it into bowls; and the rest he poured upon the altar.
7 And taking the book of the covenant, he read it in the hearing of the people: and they said: All things that the Lord hath spoken, we will do, we will be obedient.
8 And he took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said: *This is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.
9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abiu, and seventy of the ancients of Israel went up:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and under his feet as it were a work of sapphire stone, and as the heaven, when clear.
11 Neither did he lay his hand upon those of the children of Israel, that retired afar off, and they saw God, and they did eat and drink.
12 And the Lord said to Moses: Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and the law, and the commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 Moses rose up, and his minister Josue: and Moses going up into the mount of God,
14 Said to the ancients: Wait ye here till we return to you. You have Aaron and Hur with you: if any question shall arise, you shall refer it to them.
15 And when Moses was gone up, a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the Lord dwelt upon Sinai, covering it with a cloud six days: and the seventh day he called him out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord, was like a burning fire upon the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses entering into the midst of the cloud, went up into the mountain: *And he was there forty days and forty nights.
8: Hebrews ix. 20.
18: Deuteronomy ix. 9.