The sign that the Lord was going to give King Ahaz was a young woman was going to have a child, and before the child is old enough to eat curds and honey (milk and honey), he would send the Assyrians down to defeat the Syrians aligned with Israel, and Judah would be delivered. This will be fulfilled in Isa 8.1-3 when Isaiah will have relations with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to a son and they named him “Maher-shalal-hash-baz” which means “swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.” His second name was Immanuel (7.14).
Now, Isaiah’s wife was not a virgin, but a young, married woman. God chose a Hebrew word (almah) that could have several meanings for several fulfillments. Almah can mean “a young, married woman” to fit the peshat in the case of Isaiah’s wife, and it can mean a “virgin” in the sowd, as in the case of Miriam, the mother of Yeshua. When that verse was translated into Greek, it was translated with a Greek word that can only mean a “virgin” (parthenos). That is because they were looking to the future messianic fulfillment only. Isa 7.18 says “in that day” and this expression is a reference to the “Day of Yehovah” or the Lord. This tells us there will be a future fulfillment. Isa 7.19-25 says that the fields will be so devastated by this war they will only be able to eat curds and honey. The crops have been destroyed in the war. So, Exo 33.3 tells us Canaan is a land of milk and honey because it is uncultivated, it had no crops.
Exo 33.4-6 says they stripped their ornaments off. The Golden Calf has already happened. Why are they stripping these ornaments off? Moses has returned from the mountain. The people are starting to act upon what Moses told them from the Lord, in Exo 25.1-7. In Exo 33.4 it says, “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, and called it the tent of meeting (ohel moed) and it came about, that everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.”
Mount Sinai has two names: Sinai and Horeb. People today have a hard time understanding the concept of multiple names for people, places and things. Those words mean different things. Sinai may have derived from the Sumerian deity of the moon (Sin), or it simply comes from the Hebrew name for a thorn bush, “sineh.” Horeb is “Chorev” and means “dry, desert.” It is also though by some to mean “glowing heat” which may have been a reference to the sun.
There is another name for this mountain called “Har Ha Elohim” or “the mountain of God (Exo 3.1, 1 Kings 19.18). There are three mountains in Scripture called Har Ha Elohim. They are Mount Sinai, Mount Moriah and Mount Zion. Ohel Moed means “tent of meeting/appointment.” Ohel means “tent” and Moed means “appointment.” Anyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting.
Exo 33.8 says that whenever Moses would go out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Now, we see two things here. When you come into the inner courtyard of the Mishkan/Temple, you must be standing. Only a king descended from David was allowed to sit in the inner courtyard. The other things is you always faced towards the throne of God. This protocol will be used when coming to the Lord, standing and looking towards the throne of God. It is being established here and this will be used in the Mishkan/Temple.
Exo 33.9-11 says that a cloud would descend and stand at the entrance, and the Lord would speak to Moses. When the people saw this, they stood and worshiped at the entrance of their tents. So, God spoke with Moses “face to face” just as a man speaks to his friend (re’eh). A “chavur” is a friend, a “re’eh” is a shepherd friend, a deeper kind of friend (Gen 29.32-34. When Moses would leave, Joshua would stay at the tent. The phrase “face to face” is an idiom for Yom Kippur. Why? Because the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies, the throne of God, like Moses did. Names will be associated with the festivals. When we see this phrase (outside of this verse) in Scripture, it alludes to Yom Kippur.
Moses is doing this here. He is “face to face” with God before his throne. There is a prophecy in Num 11 that God took of the Spirit from Moses and placed that Spirit on 68 elders. Moses had complained earlier that he needed help. Two others were in the camp and also received the Spirit, for a total of 70. all of them prophesied. Joshua runs to Moses at the Ohel Moed and says, “Restrain them.” Moses says, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them.”
This was seen as a prophecy that when Messiah came, the Spirit of God (the Ruach Ha Kodesh/Holy Spirit) would fall on mankind, not just a few. There is a time coming in the Olam Haba when all mankind will be face to face with God and we all will have the Spirit of God. So, this scenario is prophetic in nature.
In Exo 33.11 it says Joshua was a “young man.” He was from the tribe of Ephraim (Josh 5.14, 6.23). In Hebrew it is the word “na’ar.” Israel was described as a “lad” in Gen 22.5 and it is the same word used to describe Joshua (na’ar). We get the wrong idea from “young man” and “lad.” Isaac was around 33-37 years old at the time of Gen 22.5. Moses was 40 years old when he fled Egypt. We should not picture Joshua as some sort of “butler” or “servant” for Moses. He was a protege’ of Moses and he was being groomed for leadership. He was about 40 years old here, the same age Moses was when he fled from Egypt. Joshua died at 110 years old.
In Part 61 we will pick up here and begin to develop the concept of the “cloud” seen in Exo 33.9. It will allude to the Sh’kinah (presence) of God and this concept can be seen in the festival of Sukkot. It will also allude to the great “cloud of witnesses” or “clouds of glory” referred to in many places in the Scriptures. We will develop this out next time.