Exodus 34: Moses Makes New Tablets

1 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3 No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” 4 So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone.

-So now the process begins again although this time he went the whole way up alone, no 70 elders and no Joshua this time. Everything that was on the tablets the first time was going to be written all over again. It is a good thing Moses appears to have a lot of patience, I have a hard enough time just reading through all of it once.

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. 9 And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

-Again, Moses asks for repentance and he seems to understand they will receive it. By the phrasing of “stood” with him there, it seems a body was standing there which makes this another possible instance of Jesus. With all these “sightings” of Jesus we have already had, I think we all need to change our perspective of thinking of the human Jesus who came and died in 33 AD as the basis of comparison and instead see these “sightings” in the old testament as the norm and the human Jesus as the exception as to who and what Jesus is. Jesus was born a human for the purpose of being both God and man so that He can be the arbiter between both. But what He is IS God. He is God, has a separate role from God the Father and God the Spirit, but is always a part of God. To use science fiction terminology, God would appear from our perspective to have the ability to shape-shift and clone Himself once. The cloud became a figure standing and has done so before enough to give us the description of “face to face” which seems to suggest a man but also God the Father and God the Son are seen separately at times. The argument whether it is God the Father or God the Son is ultimately pointless because they are both the same, they are both God. It is accurate to say that “God spoke to Moses” whether it is as God the Father or God the Son we ultimately can’t say for certain.
The Covenant Renewed
10 And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. 11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.

-Just because it is being said now doesn’t mean it is about to happen right now. God says that “I will do…” meaning sometime in the future. And, of course, He does. And the Israelites do their part by failing and making covenants and intermarrying with the inhabitants anyway.

17 “You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal. 18 “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19 All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20 The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed. 21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22 You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end. 23 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year. 25 “You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning. 26 The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

-This appears to be a summary of what was already talked about in previous chapters. It includes the second commandment, the fourth commandment, and the three major feasts. Mercifully, it appears we do not have to read through everything again although some will be repeated later in Leviticus because this part of Exodus is about what is being written whereas Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are the things that were written being carried out and set in place.

27 And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

-So this time, we are told that Moses did write everything down as dictated by God. It is a real shame that the first two tablets were destroyed that were written by the “finger of God”. Part of the punishment along with the plagues and the promised land skipping a generation could have also been not having the honor of the words of the covenant literally being written by God but rather dictated. As discussed in Chapters 31 and 32, it seems impossible that we literally have Moses’ final version and nowhere does it say Moses wrote anything that happened in the book of Genesis. The only reference is twice God explains that He made the earth in six days and that is part of the purpose for the Sabbath but that is the only thing from Genesis that exists in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy.
The Shining Face of Moses
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32 Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35 the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

-The purpose is probably not to show that God is so powerful that He can make Moses’ face shine. Please…we know He is more powerful than that. He can make Moses’ head explode! He can make the whole universe explode! The purpose is to give the “stiff-necked” Israelites a visible, miraculous sign of Moses’ authority. Perhaps there would have been doubt around the camp whether Moses really spoke for God or not if his face did not shone as it did.

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