New Defender's Study Bible Notes
33:7 took the tabernacle. The tabernacle designed by God had not yet been built, so this “tent” (same word as “tabernacle”) must have been Moses’ personal tent, pressed into service on a temporary basis as the tabernacle where God could meet with Moses and the people.
33:11 face to face. This confrontation with God could only have been a theophany, for no man could see God’s face in all His glory and live (Exodus 33:20).
33:13 thy way. After the indescribable experience with God on the mountain, followed by the traumatic confrontation with Aaron and the people when he came down, Moses urgently needed some special assurance from God. Accordingly, he begged God to show him both His way and His glory (Exodus 33:18). Note John 1:14; 14:6.
33:18 shew me thy glory. Moses first asked God to show him “thy way” (Exodus 33:13–Moses was still seeking human help, just as he had earlier in Exodus 4:13), and then to show him “thy glory,” evidently as a visible confirmation that God would indeed be with him in the humanly impossible task before him.
33:20 shall no man see me. Note John 1:18; I Timothy 6:16; etc. No man can see God in the glory of His triune personal presence, but He often revealed Himself through “the angel of His presence” (e.g., Isaiah 63:9), that is, a pre-incarnate “theophany” of Christ.