Published on
December 14, 2023

Exodus 34

“Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed...”

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
Exodus 34
“Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord.  And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.’” Exodus 34:5-7 (NKJV)

In Western culture, the number “13” is considered unlucky, as superstitions go.  The Jewish mindset considers number 13 to be blessed.  Here’s why.  In Hebrew, there are no “numbers” per se, so every letter is ascribed a numerical value.  For instance, the letter “alef” (A) is also #1.  In the Shema (Deut 6:4), God is described as being “One.” The Hebrew name for “One” is “Echad.” The numerical value for “Echad” is 13.  

A bit mystic, I admit.  And people can go crazy trying to reckon numbers & words, looking for “codes” in the Bible.  I only mention it because God announces Himself to Moses in the thirteen spiritual ideas concerning His Divine Nature.  Ironically, perhaps, the One we know as “Echad” is announcing Himself by a list of “13”.

1.  The Lord, the Lord God -  Heb: Adonai, Adonai - Adonai denotes God in His mercy.  The repetition was traditionally considered to mean that God is merciful before a man sins and after he sins (Exodus 20-34).

2.  God - Heb: El - The almighty Lord of the universe, ruler of nature and mankind.

3.  Merciful -  Heb: rachun - God is full of affectionate sympathy for the sufferings and miseries of human frailty

4.  Gracious -  Heb: ve-channun - He assists and helps, consoling the afflicted and raising up the oppressed.

5.  Long Suffering - Heb: erech appayim - The Lord is not hastening to punish the sinner but offers him opportunities to repent.

6.  Abundant in goodness - Heb: rav chesed - He grants His gifts and blessings beyond what man deserves

7.  Truth -  Heb: ve-emet - He is eternally true to Himself

8.  Keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation -  Heb: notzer chesed la-alafim - He remembers the righteousness of the ancestors and reserves reward and recompense to the remotest descendants who will turn to Him.

9.  Forgiving iniquity -  Heb: noseh avon - He bears with the indulgence and failings of man, and by forgiveness, He restores them to purity

10.  Transgression - Heb: pesha - Evil deeds spring from malice and rebellion against God

11.  Sin - Heb: Chattaah - Shortcomings by refusal to heed or ignorance of God’s Word

12.  Will by no means clear the guilty -  Heb: venakkeh lo yenakkeh - Literally, “Acquitting the repentant but not the unrepentant.”

13.  Visiting…upon the children -  This relates only to the CONSEQUENCES and not the PUNISHMENT of a man’s sin upon his descendants.

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