Yahweh’s Burning Nose

Peter Leithart writes:

Yahweh’s nose burns a lot.  You can’t see it in English translation, but that’s what the Hebrew says whenever Yahweh’s “anger” burns: What’s actually burning is His nose.

His nose burns first, though, not at Israel but at Moses.  Exodus 4:14 is the first use of the idiom in the Hebrew Bible, and there Yahweh’s nose is burning at the mediator.  In this, as in so many other ways, Moses’ personal history anticipates Israel’s communal history, for later, also at Sinai, Yahweh’s nose will burn at His people (Exodus 32:10), and Moses, the one against whom Yahweh’s nose first burned, will stand to intercede, to pacify Yahweh’s nose.

Yahweh’s burning nose at Moses thus anticipates not only Israel’s history, but that of Jesus.


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