Exodus 34:33

And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.

And till Moses had done speaking with them,.... Not when he had done, as the Septuagint version, for then there would have been no occasion for it; but when he first began to speak to Aaron and the "rulers", and continued to speak to the congregation until he had finished what he had to say; even he did what follows, as soon as he perceived there was a glory on his face, which they could not bear to look at:

he put a vail on his face; something that covered it in a good measure, a mask, or linen cloth, or some such thing. The obscurity of the law may be signified by this vail, both of the moral and ceremonial law; the moral law, which though it makes known the mind and will of God, with respect to what is to be done, or not done, yet not with respect to the affair of life and salvation: it makes known the one God as the object of worship, but gives no account of a trinity of persons in the Godhead; no hint of God in Christ, nor revelation of the Son of God; no view of a Saviour, no notion of pardon; nor does it point out the righteousness of Christ unto us; nor do we from it hear anything of the Spirit of God, and his grace, nor of eternal life and glory: the ceremonial law, and its ordinances, did give some light into evangelical things, and did point out Christ, and the blessings of his grace, yet but darkly and obscurely; they were shadows of good things to come, and gave some dark and distant views of them, but were not so much as the image of the things, and did not bring them near, and set them in a clear light: likewise this vail may be an emblem of the darkness of the minds of men, with respect to the law, and the knowledge of divine things; especially of the Jews, who, as the apostle says, "could not steadfastly look at the end of that which is abolished": of the ceremonial law, which is disannulled, the end of which was Christ; he is the end for which it was made, the scope or mark at which it aimed, the term in which it issued, and in whom it had its complete fulfilment; but this they had not a perfect view of, and could not steadfastly behold: the moral law also is in some sense abolished by Christ, as the ministration of Moses, as a covenant of works, and as to the curse and condemnation of it to those that believe; and Christ he is the end of this, the fulfilling end of it, by conformity of nature, and obedience of life unto it, and by suffering the penalty of it; but such was the blindness of the Jews, that they were ignorant of the nature of this law, of the spirituality and perfection of it, of its use to convince men of sin, to condemn for it, but not to justify from it; were ignorant of the righteousness of God which the law required, and of Christ, and of the way of life and righteousness by him; and so of the Spirit of God, and his work, and of the mysteries of the Gospel, and of the books of the Old Testament; see 2 Corinthians 3:14.