Many a times God's voice is described as thunderous & powerful

All texts from NASB

Numbers 7

[89]Now when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him.

In the book of Psalms his voice is described as powerful & breaks the cedars of Lebanon

Psalms 29:4-5

[4]The voice of the Lord is powerful, The voice of the Lord is majestic. [5]The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

Also in the book of Ezekiel it also described as being heard outside the courtyard

Ezekiel 10

[5]Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks.

Did God whisper when he spoke to Moses in order for his voice not to project itself beyond the court yard?

  • As God His voice can, I'm sure, be whatever He chooses... When He wishes to be heard widely it's loud and when He wishes someone to "be still and know", it's quiet. I don't think of Him having to manipulate some fixed quantity using human physiology like "project" and "whisper". – Luke Sawczak May 15 '18 at 12:43
  • Just because God CAN break cedars with His voice, doesn't mean He always does. In 1 Samuel 3 the voice of the Lord was mistaken for the gentle beckoning of a man in a nearby tent. – kmote May 9 '19 at 16:39

In Exodus 33:11, at the time of Israel's idolatry - 'Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people' [KJV] it is written that the LORD spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend. My impression is that this was not a single incident, though the matter is introduced at a pertinent time.

Such were the communications of the Lord to Moses.

In Numbers 7:89, and following, the Lord conveys information privately to Moses but that speech is to be further conveyed to Israel. 'Speak unto Aaron' 8:1; 'Speak unto the children of Israel' 9:9 and so forth. So the speech was not confidential, not a secret.

'Dabar', speak, occurs three times in Numbers 7:89, twice in the Piel, an active form, and once, 'the voice of one speaking unto him' in the Hithpael, the reflexive form. This reflexive form is used, according to Young, in three other places - II Samuel 14:13 (the woman of Tekoah) and twice when Ezekiel is spoken to, 2:2, 43:6.

I am not fully clear on the application but it does seem to me that there is, perhaps, an emphasis on how the speech is heard or on how the speech is delivered in these places.

Elijah springs to mind when, after the wind and earthquake and fire - in which the Lord was not - he hears a still small voice. But in Numbers 7:89 there is no suggestion in the text itself that the Lord whispered. 'Dabar' is definitely 'speak' as far as I can determine; but the reflexive form suggests a certain difference.

Perhaps someone else will be able to cast more light on this. I hope so.

[My own thought, for the time being, is that God 'spoke within himself', that is, it was not a public declaration to all. It was not as when the seventy elders ascended the mount. It was within God; but Moses' relationship with God was such that Moses heard what God uttered within himself.]

The Hithpael Form

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“Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:11‬ ‭

So it wasn’t a whisper, it wasn’t like thunder, it wasn’t even in his spirit or spirit to Spirit. It was face to face, like a friend to a friend, but though they were face to face Moses never saw anyone.

“The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. And the Lord said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:21-22‬ ‭

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