2. And he said, The Lord came from, Sinai.f305In these words he reminds them that he is setting before them, a confirmation of the covenant, which God had made with them in this Law, and that it is nothing different from it; for this connection was of exceeding efficacy in establishing the certainty of the blessings, provided only the Law was duly honored; for nothing was better adapted to confirm the grace of God than the majesty which was displayed in the promulgation of the Law. Some, as I conceive improperly, translate it, — “God comes to Sinai,” whereas Moses rather means that he came from thence, when His brightness was made manifest. By way of ornament, the same thing is repeated with respect to Seir and Paran; and, since these three words are synonymous, therefore to go forth, to rise up, and to come, also represent the same thing, viz., that manifestation of the divine glory which should have ravished into admiration the minds of all; as though he had said that his blessings were to be received with the same reverence, as that which God had procured for His Law, when His face was conspicuously displayed on Mount Sinai. The Prophet Habakkuk (<350303>Habakkuk 3:3) has imitated this figure, though with a different object, viz., that, the people might confidently rely upon his power, which had formerly been manifested to the fathers in visible brightness.
By “ten thousands of sanctity,” f306 I do not understand, as many do, the faithful, but the angels, by whom God was accompanied as by a royal retinue; for God also commanded the ark to be placed between the Cherubim, in order to show that the heavenly hosts were around Him. So in Isaiah, (<230606>Isaiah 6:6,) the Seraphim surround His throne; and Daniel says that he saw “tenthousand times ten thousand,” (<270710>Daniel 7:10;) thus designating an infinite multitude, as does Moses also by “ten thousand.” It is probable that both Paul and Stephen derived from this passage their statement that the Law was “ordained by Angels in the hand of a mediator,” (<480319>Galatians 3:19; <440753>Acts 7:53;) for its authority was greatly confirmed by its having so many witnesses (obsignatores.)
The Law is placed at His right hand, not only as a scepter or mark of dignity, but as His power or rule of government; for He did not merely show Himself as a king, but also made known how He would preside over them. f307 The Law is called fiery, in order to inspire terror and to enforce humility upon them all; although I am not adverse to the opinion that Moses alludes in this epithet to the outward signs of fire and flame, of which he spoke in Exodus 20. But, since the word td, dath, means any statute or edict, some restrict it to the prohibition that none should more closely approach the mountain. In my own mind, however, there is no doubt but that it designates all the doctrine whereby God’s dominion is maintained.
3. Yea, he loved the people.f308If it be preferred to apply this to the Gentiles, the sentence must be thus resolved, “Although He loves all human beings, still His saints are honored with His peculiar favor, in that He watches over their safety;” but it is more correct to expound it as referring only to the children of Abraham, whom He calls “peoples,” because, on account of the multitude into which they had grown, in their several tribes, they might be reckoned as so many nations. And since the particle ãa, aph,f309signifies prolongation of time, like adhuc in Latin, the following sense will be very satisfactory, that, Although the descendants of Abraham were divided into various races, and might therefore seem to be no longer a single family, nevertheless God still continued to regard them all with affection, and their numbers and divisions did not prevent Him from accounting them to be a single body. The sum is, that God’s favor towards them was not extinguished, either by the progress of time, or the increase of the people; but that it was constantly extended to the race of Abraham, however far or widely it might be spread.
It must, however, be observed, that in proof of His love, it is presently added, that they were in the hand of God. Hence we infer that, from the time that God has embraced us with His favor, He is the sure guardian of our safety; whence also arises the firm assurance of eternal life. The change of person, from the third to the second, throws no obscurity on the meaning. Since many hypocrites were mixed up with the faithful — for the Church of God has always been like a threshing-floor f310 — Moses restricts this special grace of God to those who willingly submit themselves to Him, and with pious teachableness embrace this instruction, by which sign he distinguishes between the true children of God, and those spurious or degenerate ones, who falsely assume the name. Where my translation is, “They cleaved to thy feet,” others render the words, “Theywere struck at thy feet,” but in my judgment constrainedly. Others extract from it a useful piece of instruction, that “they were subdued by God’s chastisements, so as to render Him obedience;”but the metaphor is rather taken from disciples, who, according to the common usage of the Hebrew language, are said to sit at their master’s feet, in order to attend more diligently. And this is confirmed by the context, for the faithful are said to have attached themselves to God’s feet, that they might receive of this words, i.e.,profit by His instruction.