Only he [Moses] speaks to God, and he does so "face-to-face;" as friends speak to each other. All cultic activity takes place before the face of God (see the priestly blessing in Num 6:22-26). But the phrase "face-to-face" expresses a more intimate encounter of a direct and charismatic inspiration. Jacob realizes that he has seen God "face-to-face" only after he physically wrestles with God all night at the Jabbok River (Gen 32:30). Gideon comes to the same realization after his commission by the Messenger of Yahweh (Judg 6:22). Deuteronomy 5:4 attributes the same experience to the Israelite people, stating that they heard God speak the Decalogue to them "face-to-face," which is qualified in the following verse (5:5). It is Moses, however, who most clearly embodies the experience of speaking to God face-to-face, always within the tent of meeting. Deuteronomy 34:10 uses this experience to separate Moses from all other prophets, while Num 12:6-8 provides further commentary on Moses' unique status. God states: "With him [Moses] I speak face-to-face [lit. `mouth-to-mouth'], clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of Yahweh."
Thomas B. Dozeman. Exodus (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 10671-10675). Kindle Edition.
Thomas B. Dozeman. Exodus (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 10669-10671). Kindle Edition.