7:89 Now when Moses went into26 the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord,27 he heard the voice speaking to him from above the atonement lid28 that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim.29 Thus he spoke to him.
tn The adverbial clause of time is constructed with the infinitive construct of the verb “to enter” (בּוֹא, bo’) with the preposition and with the subjective genitive that follows serving as the subject of the clause. The verse is strategic in the structure of the book: At the completion of the dedication with the offerings Moses received more revelation from the Lord in the tent. This verse therefore lays the foundation for what follows.
tc The MT is obscure here, simply giving the purpose infinitive and the prepositional phrase (“with him”). But the following clause using the Hitpael of the same verb, introducing a reflexive sense: “then he heard the voice speaking with him.” The Greek clarified it by inserting “Lord” after the word “voice.” The editor of BHS favors emendation of the form to a Piel participle rather than the Hitpael of the MT (reading מְדַבֵּר [médabber] instead of מִדַּבֵּר [middabber], the Hitpael with assimilation). Most commentators agree with the change, assuming there was a mistaken pointing in the MT.
tn The Hebrew word כַּפֹּרֶת (kapporet) has been traditionally rendered “mercy seat,” but since the ark is the footstool (see Ps 132), this translation is somewhat misleading. The word is etymologically connected to the verb “to make atonement.” A technical translation would be “place of atonement” or “propitiatory”; a more common translation would be “cover, lid”—provided that the definition “to cover” does not get transferred to the verb “to atone,” for that idea belongs to a homonym. See also Exod 25:17.