Verses 1-5 – This amounted to saying that there would be no use for the tabernacle to be built, since it was intended as the dwelling of the Lord among His people. This ban on ornaments was not a permanent ban on all jewelry. It was a temporary sign of repentance and mourning.
Verses 7-11 – Moses took his tent, moved it outside the camp, and used it for the tabernacle of meeting. In this tent is where the Lord met Moses. A cloud of smoke would stay at the entrance door when God would meet Moses. However, Joshua went into the tent and stayed there. Maybe it was to protect it or maybe he was recording all the things God had told Moses, or both.
Verse 12 – I believe Moses was really asking the Lord if He was going to go with hem.
Verse 13 – These conversations between the Lord and Moses had to be recorded or we wouldn’t be reading them. Remember Joshua was there. Yes the first five books of the Bible are accredited to Moses, but I believe Joshua wrote a good portion of them. Moses desire to know the Lord was in contrast with Pharaoh’s boast about not knowing the Lord and not listening to Him.
Verse 14 – The statement “I will give you rest,” may have meant security from their enemies.
Verses 15, 16 – Moses knew that just by entering the land of Canaan would not distinguish the Israelite’s from the other nations. All the other nations had land, but they did not have the covenant relationship with the Lord that Israel had. Only if Yahweh went with them would the Israelite’s have a distinct identity as His special people.
Verse 17 – Moses was interceding for the Israelite’s on the basis of grace rather than on their behavior.
Verses 18-23 – Moses prayer was to see the manifest glory of God. Moses really wanted to know that God’s presence was with him. To see God’s back means we can only see where God has been. We have a hard time comprehending God as He really is apart from Jesus Christ (John 14:9). Jesus also said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Jesus promised to show Himself to those who believe (John 14:21). God hid Moses in the cleft of the rock, covered it with His hand, and passed by, showing all His compassion and graciousness.