Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Exodus 33:11

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Face to face - See Exodus 33:20 note.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp. This seems to have been a temporary building, set up for worship, and at which he judged disputes among the people. The people looked after him; they were very desirous to be at peace with God, and concerned to know what would come to pass. The cloudy pillar which had withdrawn from the camp when it was polluted with idolatry, now returned. If our hearts go forth toward God to meet him, he will graciously come to meet us.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Lord spake unto Moses face to face - That there was no personal appearance here we may readily conceive; and that the communications made by God to Moses were not by visions, ecstasies, dreams, inward inspirations, or the mediation of angels, is sufficiently evident: we may therefore consider the passage as implying that familiarity and confidence with which the Divine Being treated his servant, and that he spake with him by articulate sounds in his own language, though no shape or similitude was then to be seen.

Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man - There is a difficulty here. Joshua certainly was not a young man in the literal sense of the word; "but he was called so," says Mr. Ainsworth, "In respect of his service, not of his years; for he was now above fifty years old, as may be gathered from Joshua 24:29. But because ministry and service are usually by the younger sort, all servants are called young men, Genesis 14:24." See also Genesis 22:3, and Genesis 41:12. Perhaps the word נער naar, here translated young man, means a single person, one unmarried.

Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW), 1113

1. Moses’ Wife Not Black—The wife of Moses was not black, but her complexion was somewhat darker than the Hebrews (The Spirit of Prophecy 1:286). 1BC 1113.1

3. Moses Superior to All Rulers—Moses stands forth superior in wisdom and integrity to all the sovereigns and statesmen of earth. Yet this man claims no credit for himself, but points the people to God as the Source of all power and wisdom. Where is there such a character among men of this age? Those who would speak contemptuously of the law of God are dishonoring Him and casting a shadow over the most illustrious character presented in the annals of men (The Signs of the Times, October 21, 1886, reprinted from The Review and Herald, September 14, 1886). 1BC 1113.2

(Exodus 18:13). Moses Could Judge Instantly—Moses was a humble man; God called him the meekest man on earth. He was generous, noble, well-balanced; he was not defective, and his qualities were not merely half developed. He could successfully exhort his fellow-men, because his life itself was a living representation of what man can become and accomplish with God as his helper, of what he taught to others, of what he desired them to be, and of what God required of him. He spoke from the heart and it reached the heart. He was accomplished in knowledge and yet simple as a child in the manifestation of his deep sympathies. Endowed with a remarkable instinct, he could judge instantly of the needs of all who surrounded him, and of the things which were in bad condition and required attention, and he did not neglect them (Manuscript 24, 1887). 1BC 1113.3

The Meekest of Men—Moses was the greatest man who ever stood as leader of the people of God. He was greatly honored by God, not for the experience which he had gained in the Egyptian court, but because he was the meekest of men. God talked with him face to face, as a man talks with a friend. If men desire to be honored by God, let them be humble. Those who carry forward God's work should be distinguished from all others by their humility. Of the man who is noted for his meekness, Christ says, He can be trusted. Through him I can reveal Myself to the world. He will not weave into the web any threads of selfishness. I will manifest Myself to him as I do not to the world (Manuscript 165, 1899). 1BC 1113.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 405

The message might not please those to whom it was sent. They might not wish for anything new, but desire to go right on as they had been doing; but the Lord stirred them up with reproofs; He rebuked their course of action. He infused new life in those who were sleeping at their post of duty, who were not faithful sentinels. He showed them their responsibility, and that they would be held accountable for the safety of the people. They were watchmen who were not to sleep day nor night. They were to discern the enemy, and give the alarm to the people, that everyone might be at his post, that the watching foe might not obtain the least advantage. TM 405.1

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 174

At the transfiguration of Christ, Moses, and Elijah who had been translated, were sent to talk with Christ in regard to His sufferings, and be the bearers of God's glory to His dear Son. Moses had been greatly honored of God. He had been privileged to talk with God face to face, as a man speaketh with his friend. And God had revealed to him His excellent glory, as He had never done to any other. SR 174.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 316

When the still small voice which succeeds the whirlwind and the tempest that moves the rocks out of position, is heard, let all cover their face, for God is very near. Let them hide themselves in Jesus Christ; for He is their hiding place. The cleft in the rock is hidden with His own pierced hand while the humble seeker waits in bowed attitude to hear what saith the Lord unto His servant.—Manuscript 84b, 1897. 2SM 316.1

There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a petition to God.… In the crowds of the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God, and plead for divine guidance, as did Nehemiah when he made his request before King Artaxerxes—Steps to Christ, 99, (Pocket ed.). 2SM 316.2

We may speak with Jesus as we walk by the way, and He says, I am at thy right hand. We may commune with God in our hearts; we may walk in companionship with Christ. When engaged in our daily labor, we may breathe out our heart's desire, inaudible to any human ear; but that word cannot die away into silence, nor can it be lost. Nothing can drown the soul's desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the noise of machinery. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard.—Gospel Workers, 258. 2SM 316.3

It is not always necessary to bow upon your knees in order to pray. Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour when you are alone, when you are walking, and when you are busy with your daily labor.—The Ministry of Healing, 510, 511. 2SM 316.4

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 343

A knowledge of the attributes of the character of Christ Jesus cannot be obtained by means of the highest education in the most scientific schools. This wisdom is learned from the great Teacher alone. The lessons of Christlike meekness, lowliness of heart, reverence for sacred things, are taught nowhere effectively except in the school of Christ. Moses had been taught to expect flattery and praise because of his superior abilities; but now he was to learn a different lesson. As a shepherd of sheep, Moses was taught to care for the afflicted, to nurse the sick, to seek patiently after the straying, to bear long with the unruly, to supply with loving solicitude the wants of the young lambs and the necessities of the old and feeble. As these phases of his character were developed, he was drawn nearer to his Chief Shepherd. He became united to, submerged in, the Holy One of Israel. He believed in the great God. He held communion with the Father through humble prayer. He looked to the Highest for an education in spiritual things, and for a knowledge of his duty as a faithful shepherd. His life became so closely linked with heaven that God talked with him face to face. FE 343.1

Thus prepared, he was ready to heed the call of God to exchange his shepherd's crook for the rod of authority; to leave his flock of sheep to take the leadership of more than a million idolatrous, rebellious people. But he was to depend upon the invisible Leader. Even as the rod was simply an instrument in his hand, so was he to be a willing instrument to be worked by the hand of Jesus Christ. Moses was selected to be the shepherd of God's own people, and it was through his firm faith and abiding trust in the Lord that so many blessings reached the children of Israel. The Lord Jesus seeks the co-operation of such men as will become unobstructed channels through which the riches of heaven may be poured out upon the people of His love. He works through man for the uplifting and salvation of His chosen. FE 343.2

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