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- What did the 70 elders see? 6 answers
In Exodus, G-d tells Moshe that "no one can see Me and live" (Exodus 33:20), but then in Exodus 24 Moses went up with Aharon, his sons, and 70 of Israel's elders, and they saw the G-d of Israel. . . . G-d did not harm the Israelite nobles; they saw Him, and they ate and drank. (Exodus 24:9-11). How is this possible?
Abraham Ibn Ezra thought that the elders saw God in a prophetic vision. This interpretation is seems to be somewhat problematic however, since the text would not have mentioned that G-d did not harm (literally, raise His hand against) them. If it was just a vision, why explain that G-d did not strike them for seeing a vision? It appears that they really saw the G-d of Israel, but how?