Some translations say:

It happened, when Moses entered into the Tent, that the pillar of cloud descended, stood at the door of the Tent, and spoke with Moses. - Exodus 33:9 World English Bible

Others say:

And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. - Exodus 33:9 KJV

Which one is right?

Note: This question may be doctrinally significant. If the first translation is correct, and God is "one" with the pillar, that might inform how we understand that Jesus is "one" with God -- that Jesus is only God's mouthpiece, not God. So why is this verse translated differently?

  • 1
    Which version are you quoting in the first one? Feb 18, 2014 at 17:37
  • This site does not exist for he purpose of proving the Bible or to convince you of it's veracity. Having noticed the adversarial tone in your questions, might I suggest that this does not appear to be the site you are seeking.
    – BYE
    Feb 18, 2014 at 18:12
  • If the same verse translated differently I would want to know what the problem is
    – user4234
    Jan 6, 2015 at 14:48
  • And I do not understand the hostility. Is the original hebrew ambiguous. Is God "in" the cloud, or God "is" the cloud?
    – user4234
    Jan 23, 2015 at 8:03

3 Answers 3


The issue here is pronoun use in Hebrew. What the Hebrew actually says is "the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tent and [he/it] spoke with Moses".

In English the pronoun would typically refer to the last object (the pillar of cloud). In Hebrew it isn't as clear cut, and there isn't the distinction between "he" and "it" (at least not in this case), and it is certainly possible that the pronoun refers further back than that, to something previously mentioned, such as God.

In this case there are only two reasonable interpretations. Either the pronoun refers to God, the sender of the pillar of fire, or the pillar of fire itself spoke as a messenger of God. Either would be a reasonable translation of the Hebrew as written.

However in reality this isn't an issue as the pillar of fire is elsewhere equated with God. (Exodus 13:21-22) The actual difference in meaning between is at most slight, and at least nonexistent. It doesn't change the understanding of the passage at all.


The pillar of cloud is sometimes referred to as the angel of God. (Ex 14:19)

Even when the angel of God speaks (Ge 16:10-11, Ge 22:10-12), God is still the person speaking, as if the angel is only the mouthpiece. The prophets served a similar purpose, giving voice to God's words.

To answer your question, God spoke to Moses.


They both are!

Exodus 20:2 and 3 KJV

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Exodus 13:21 and 22

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

  • God is in the pillar of a cloud. God is not the pillar of cloud. This distinction is important because if God is the pillar of cloud, that means we have a preincarnate God taking a form of a cloud.
    – user4234
    Apr 20, 2014 at 14:46
  • @SharenEayrs I agree completely and apologize for any misconception I may have caused. Happy Easter.
    – BYE
    Apr 20, 2014 at 16:51
  • Also Jesus may be "one" with God just as in a sense God is "one" with the pillar or the angel. Jesus is Gods' mouthpiece, not God. I am not saying it's true. I am just trying to compare.
    – user4234
    Apr 20, 2014 at 22:18

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