For the Lord had said to Moses, "Say to the people of Israel, 'You are a v stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would y consume you. So now x take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.'
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"Stiff-necked" is used as an idiom for rebellious, disobedient people. Deut 9:6 says, "Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people." This clearly illustrates the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith and that not of self (Eph. 2:8-9). God makes it distinctly clear that they were not righteous in themselves; indeed, they were a stiff-necked and rebellious people. In the following passages Moses gives many instances of their rebellion (Deut. 9:4-29). Deut 19:16 says, "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked." What is meant by Circumcision of the Heart needed for the stiff-necked? Circumcision of the heart is just opening it to God by removing all reservations, coverings, secrets, and unbelief--it is a command. God promises to help man in this matter (Deut. 30:6; Lev. 26:41; Acts 7:51), providing he will humble himself and permit Him. The doctrine of circumcision is mentioned in only eleven passages of the O.T. and in only four after this one (Gen. 17:10-27; 21:4; 34:15-24; Ex. 4:26; 12:44-48; Lev. 12:3; Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Josh. 5:2-8; Jer. 4:4; 9:25). It is mentioned only twice outside the Pentateuch in the O.T., and referred to in twenty-seven passages of the N.T., mostly to expose the lack of merit of literal circumcision as a means of salvation (Lk. 1:59; 2:21; Jn. 7:22-23; Acts 7:8,22; 10:45; 11:2; 15:1,5,24; 16:3; Rom. 2:25-29; 3:1,30; 4:9-12; 15:8; 1Cor. 7:18-19; Gal. 2:3-12; 5:2-6,11; 6:12-15; Eph. 3:3; Php. 3:3-5; Col. 2:11; 3:11; 4:11; Tit. 1:10).
This is a very interesting question, Elmarie! I believe you are referring to Exodus 33:5 (ESV). Another similar verse to this is Proverbs 29:1. I love how the NET translates Proverbs 29:1, "The one who stiffens his neck after numerous rebukes will suddenly be destroyed without remedy." Note-- The idiom “to harden the neck” (מַקְשֶׁה־עֹרֶף, maqsheh-’oref) is the idea of resisting the rebukes and persisting in obstinacy (e.g., Exod 32:9). The opposite of a “stiff neck” would be the bending back, i.e., submission. Compare a similar reference to stubbornness: MSG -- “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule that needs bit and bridle to stay on track.” (Psa. 32:9). (I've memorized this verse and shared this audibly with others). Pr 29:1 being stubborn of neck describes someone who stubbornly refuses to accept direction or reproof (see Exod 32:9. Note this: --Exo. 32:9 a stiff-necked people is a frequently used image, reflecting the difficulty of turning a stubborn animal (e.g., an ox or horse). FSB "It’s a dangerous thing to play with sin and defy the living God. “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.'" Wiersbe If you refuse to accept criticism, you will be broken.
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