X God's mercy, in renewing the two tables, ver. 1-5. In leading Israel forward, and chusing the tribe of Levi for his own, ver. 6-9. In accepting the intercession as Moses, ver. 10-11. An exhortation to fear, love, and serve God, ver. 12-22.
Verse 2. I will write on the tables - Tho' the tables were broken, because they broke his commandment, they were now renewed, in proof that his wrath was turned away. And thus God's writing his law in our inward parts, is the surest proof of our reconciliation to him.
Verse 6. This following history comes in manifestly by way of parenthesis, as may appear from ver. 10, where he returns to his former discourse; and it seems to be here inserted as an evidence of God's gracious answer to Moses's prayers, and of his reconciliation to the people, notwithstanding their late and great provocation. For, saith he, after this they proceeded by God's guidance in their journeys, and though Aaron died in one of them, yet God made up that breach, and Eleazar came in his place, and ministered as priest, one branch of which office was to intercede for the people.
Verse 8. At that time - About that time, that is, when I was come down from the mount, as was said, ver. 5. To stand before the Lord - A phrase used concerning the prophets, 1 Kings xvii, 1; xviii, 15, this being the posture of ministers. Hence the angels are said to stand, 2Chr xviii, 18 Luke i, 19. To bless - The people, by performance of those holy ministrations for the people, and giving those instructions to them, to which God's blessing was promised; and this they did in God's name, that is, by command, and commission from him.
Verse 9. The Lord is his inheritance - That is, the Lord's portion, namely, tithes and offerings, which belong to God, are given by him to the Levites for their subsistence, from generation to generation.
Verse 11. Take thy journey before the people - 'Twas fit that he who had saved them from ruin by his intercession, should have the conduct and command of them. And herein he was a type of Christ, who, as he ever lives to make intercession for us, so has all power in heaven and in earth.
Verse 12. What doth he require - By way of duty and gratitude for such amazing mercies.
Verse 14. The heaven - The airy and starry heaven. The heaven of heavens - The highest or third heaven, called the heaven of heavens for its eminency. All that therein is - With all creatures and all men, which being all his, he might have chosen what nation he pleased to be his people.
Verse 15. To love them - He shews that God had no particular obligation to their fathers, any more than to other persons or people, all being equally his creatures, and that his choice of them out of and above all others, proceeded only from God's good pleasure.
Verse 16. Circumcise - Rest not in your bodily circumcision, but seriously set upon that substantial work which is signified thereby: cleanse your hearts from all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, fitly compared to the foreskin, which if not cut off, made persons profane, unclean and odious in the sight of God.
Verse 17. Regardeth not persons - Whether Jews or Gentiles, but deals justly and equally with all sorts of men; and as whosoever fears and obeys him shall be accepted, so all incorrigible transgressors shall be severely punished, and you no less than other people: therefore do not flatter yourselves as if God would bear with your sins because of his particular kindness to you or to your fathers.
Verse 18. He doth execute - That is, plead their cause, and give them right against their potent adversaries, and therefore he expects you should do so too.
Verse 20. To him shalt thou cleave - With firm confidence, true affection, and constant obedience.
Verse 21. Thy praise - The object and matter of thy praise, as Exod. xv, 2, whom thou shouldest ever praise.