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Exodus 33-36 Common English Bible (CEB)

The Lord: “I can’t go”

33 The Lord said to Moses, “Go and leave this place, you and the people whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt. Go to the land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I’ll give it to your descendants.’ I’ll send a messenger before you. I’ll drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go to this land full of milk and honey. But I won’t go up with you because I would end up destroying you along the way since you are a stubborn people.”

When the people heard the bad news, they were sorry. No one put on any jewelry, because the Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stubborn people. If I were to go up with you even for a single moment, I would destroy you. So now take off your jewelry, while I figure out what to do with you.’” So after leaving Mount Horeb the Israelites rid themselves of their jewelry.

Speaking with the Lord at the meeting tent

Moses took the tent and pitched it outside the camp, far away from the camp. He called it the meeting tent. Everyone who wanted advice from the Lord would go out to the meeting tent outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand at the entrance to their tents and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at the tent’s entrance while the Lord talked with Moses. 10 When all the people saw the column of cloud standing at the tent’s entrance, they would all rise and then bow down at the entrances to their tents. 11 In this way the Lord used to speak to Moses face-to-face, like two people talking to each other. Then Moses would come back to the camp. But his young assistant Joshua, Nun’s son, wouldn’t leave the tent.

Moses pleads with God

12 Moses said to the Lord, “Look, you’ve been telling me, ‘Lead these people forward.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. Yet you’ve assured me, ‘I know you by name and think highly of you.’ 13 Now if you do think highly of me, show me your ways so that I may know you and so that you may really approve of me. Remember too that this nation is your people.”

14 The Lord replied, “I’ll go myself, and I’ll help you.”

15 Moses replied, “If you won’t go yourself, don’t make us leave here. 16 Because how will anyone know that we have your special approval, both I and your people, unless you go with us? Only that distinguishes us, me and your people, from every other people on the earth.”

17 The Lord said to Moses, “I’ll do exactly what you’ve asked because you have my special approval, and I know you by name.”

18 Moses said, “Please show me your glorious presence.”

19 The Lord said, “I’ll make all my goodness pass in front of you, and I’ll proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord.’ I will be kind to whomever I wish to be kind, and I will have compassion to whomever I wish to be compassionate. 20 But,” the Lord said, “you can’t see my face because no one can see me and live.” 21 The Lord said, “Here is a place near me where you will stand beside the rock. 22 As my glorious presence passes by, I’ll set you in a gap in the rock, and I’ll cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. 23 Then I’ll take away my hand, and you will see my back, but my face won’t be visible.”

A deeper revealing of God’s character

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut two stone tablets like the first ones. I’ll write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke into pieces. Get ready in the morning and come up to Mount Sinai. Stand there on top of the mountain in front of me. No one else can come up with you. Don’t allow anyone even to be seen anywhere on the mountain. Don’t even let sheep and cattle graze in front of the mountain.” So Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones. He got up early in the morning and climbed up Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded him. He carried the two stone tablets in his hands. The Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him, and proclaimed the name, “The Lord.” The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed:

    “The Lord! The Lord!
    a God who is compassionate and merciful,
        very patient,
        full of great loyalty and faithfulness,
        showing great loyalty to a thousand generations,
        forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion,
        yet by no means clearing the guilty,
        punishing for their parents’ sins
        their children and their grandchildren,
        as well as the third and the fourth generation.”

At once Moses bowed to the ground and worshipped. He said, “If you approve of me, my Lord, please go along with us.[a] Although these are stubborn people, forgive our guilt and our sin and take us as your own possession.”

Renewing the broken covenant

10 The Lord said: I now make a covenant. In front of all your people, I’ll perform dramatic displays of power that have never been done before anywhere on earth or in any nation. All the people who are around you will see what the Lord does, because I will do an awesome thing with you.

11 Be sure to obey what I command you today. I’m about to drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12 Be careful that you don’t make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a dangerous trap for you. 13 You must tear down their altars, smash their sacred stone pillars, and cut down their sacred poles. 14 You must not bow down to another god, because the Lord is passionate: the Lord’s name means “a passionate God.” 15 Don’t make a covenant with those who live in the land. When they prostitute themselves with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, they may invite you and you may end up eating some of the sacrifice. 16 Then you might go and choose their daughters as wives for your sons. And their daughters who prostitute themselves with their gods might lead your sons to prostitute themselves with their gods.

17 Don’t make metal gods for yourself.

18 Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread. You should eat unleavened bread for seven days, as I commanded you, at the set time in the month of Abib,[b] because it was in the month of Abib that you came out of Egypt.

19 Every first offspring is mine. That includes all your male livestock, the oldest offspring of cows and sheep. 20 But a donkey’s oldest offspring you may ransom with a sheep. Or if you don’t ransom it, you must break its neck. You should ransom all of your oldest sons.

No one should appear before me empty-handed.

21 You should do your work for six days, but on the seventh day you should rest. Even during plowing or harvesttime you should rest. 22 You should observe the Festival of Weeks, for the early produce of the wheat harvest, and the Gathering Festival at the end of the year. 23 All your males should appear three times a year before the Lord God, Israel’s God. 24 I will drive out nations before you and extend your borders. No one will desire and try to take your land if you go up and appear before the Lord your God three times a year.

25 Don’t slaughter the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened. The sacrifice of the Passover Festival shouldn’t be left over until the morning.

26 Bring the best of the early produce of your farmland to the Lord your God’s temple.

Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

27 The Lord said to Moses: “Write down these words because by these words I hereby make a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He didn’t eat any bread or drink any water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words.

Moses’ brightly shining face

29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two covenant tablets in his hand, Moses didn’t realize that the skin of his face shone brightly because he had been talking with God. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw the skin of Moses’ face shining brightly, they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called them closer. So Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and Moses spoke with them. 32 After that, all the Israelites came near as well, and Moses commanded them everything that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 Whenever Moses went into the Lord’s presence to speak with him, Moses would take the veil off until he came out again. When Moses came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 the Israelites would see that the skin of Moses’ face was shining brightly. So Moses would put the veil on his face again until the next time he went in to speak with the Lord.

35 Moses gathered together the whole Israelite community and said to them: These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do:

Instructions for the Sabbath

Do your work for six days, but the seventh day should be holy to you, a Sabbath of complete rest for the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath will be put to death. Don’t start a fire in any of your homes on the Sabbath day.

Preparing to build the dwelling

Moses said to the whole Israelite community, This is what the Lord has commanded: Collect gift offerings for the Lord from all of you. Whoever freely wants to give should bring the Lord’s gift offerings: gold, silver, and copper; blue, purple, and deep red yarns; fine linen; goats’ hair; rams’ skins dyed red; beaded leather;[c] acacia wood; the oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet-smelling incense; gemstones; and gems for setting in the priest’s vest[d] and in the priest’s chest pendant.

10 All of you who are skilled in crafts should come forward and make everything that the Lord has commanded: 11 the dwelling, its tent and its covering, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its posts, and its bases, 12 the chest with its poles and its cover, the veil for a screen, 13 the table with its poles and all its equipment, the bread of the presence, 14 the lampstand for light with its equipment and its lamps, the oil for the light, 15 the incense altar with its poles, the anointing oil and the sweet-smelling incense, the entrance screen for the dwelling’s entrance, 16 the altar for entirely burned offerings with its copper grate, its poles, and all its equipment, the washbasin with its stand, 17 the courtyard’s drapes, its posts, and its bases, and the screen for the courtyard gate, 18 the dwelling’s tent pegs and the courtyard’s tent pegs, and their cords, 19 the woven clothing for ministering in the sanctuary, and the holy clothes for Aaron the priest and his sons for their service as priests.

Gifts for building the dwelling

20 The whole Israelite community left Moses. 21 Everyone who was excited and eager to participate brought the Lord’s gift offerings to be used for building the meeting tent and all its furnishings and for the holy clothes. 22 Both men and women came forward. Everyone who was eager to participate brought pins, earrings, rings, and necklaces, all sorts of gold objects. Everyone raised an uplifted offering of gold to the Lord. 23 And everyone who had blue or purple or deep red yarn or fine linen or goats’ hair or rams’ skins dyed red or beaded leather brought them. 24 Everyone who could make a gift offering of silver or copper brought it as the Lord’s gift offering. Everyone who had acacia wood that could be used in any kind of building work brought it. 25 All the skilled women spun cloth with their hands, and brought what they had spun in blue and purple and deep red yarns and fine linen. 26 All the women who were eager to use their skill spun the goats’ hair. 27 The chiefs brought gemstones and gems to be set in the priest’s vest and the chest pendant, 28 spices and oil for light and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet-smelling incense. 29 All the Israelite men and women who were eager to contribute something for the work that the Lord had commanded Moses to do brought it as a spontaneous gift to the Lord.

Moses introduces Bezalel and Oholiab

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites: “Look, the Lord has chosen Bezalel, Uri’s son and Hur’s grandson from the tribe of Judah. 31 The Lord has filled him with the divine spirit that will give him skill, ability, and knowledge for every kind of work. 32 He will be able to create designs, do metalwork in gold, silver, and copper, 33 cut stones for setting, carve wood, do every kind of creative work, 34 and have the ability to teach others. Both he and Oholiab, Ahisamach’s son from the tribe of Dan, 35 have been given the skill to do every kind of work done by a gem cutter or a designer or a needleworker in blue, purple, and deep red yarns and in fine linen or a weaver or anyone else doing work or creating designs.

36 “Let Bezalel, Oholiab, and every other skilled worker whom the Lord has given skill, ability, and knowledge for the work of building the sanctuary do all that the Lord has commanded.”

Moses then called together Bezalel, Oholiab, and every skilled person whom the Lord had given skill and who was eager to come and do the work. Moses gave them all the gift offerings that the Israelites had contributed to the work on the sanctuary. They kept bringing him spontaneous gifts, morning after morning.

Finally, all the skilled workers building the sanctuary left their work that they were doing one by one to come and say to Moses, “The people are contributing way too much material for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.”

So Moses issued a command that was proclaimed throughout the camp: “Every man and woman should stop making gift offerings for the sanctuary project.” So the people stopped bringing anything more because what they had already brought was more than enough to do all the work.

Construction of the dwelling

All the skilled workers made the dwelling out of ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue, purple, and deep red yarns, with figures of winged heavenly creatures worked into their design. Each curtain was forty-two feet long and six feet wide. All the curtains were the same size.

10 They joined five of the curtains to each other and joined the other five curtains to each other. 11 They made loops of blue thread on the edge of the outer curtain of the first set. They did the same on the edge of the outer curtain of the second set. 12 They made fifty loops on the one curtain and fifty loops on the outer curtain that was in the second set. The loops were opposite each other. 13 They also made fifty gold clasps, and they used the clasps to join the curtains to each other so that the dwelling was one whole structure.

14 They also made curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the dwelling. They made eleven curtains. 15 Each curtain was forty-five feet long and each curtain six feet wide. All eleven curtains were the same size. 16 They joined five curtains together and the six other curtains together. 17 They made fifty loops on the edge of the outer curtain of the one set and fifty loops on the edge of the other set of curtains. 18 They made fifty copper clasps to join the tent together so that it would be one whole structure. 19 They also made a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red and an outer covering of beaded leather.

20 Then they made acacia-wood boards to stand upright as a frame for the dwelling. 21 Each board was fifteen feet long and twenty-seven inches wide. 22 Each board had two pegs for joining them to each other. They did this for all the dwelling’s boards. 23 They made twenty boards for the dwelling’s southern side. 24 They made forty silver bases under the twenty boards, with two bases under the first board for its two pegs, two bases under the next board for its two pegs, and so on. 25 For the dwelling’s other side on the north, they made twenty boards 26 and forty silver bases, two bases under the first board, two bases under the next board, and so on. 27 For the back of the dwelling on the west, they made six boards. 28 They made two additional boards for the dwelling’s rear corners. 29 They were spread out at the bottom but joined together at the top with one ring. In this way, these two boards formed the two corners. 30 And so there were eight boards with their sixteen silver bases, with two bases under every board.

31 They also made acacia-wood bars: five for the boards on one side of the dwelling, 32 five bars for the boards on the other side of the dwelling, and five bars for the boards on the back wall of the dwelling on the west. 33 They made the middle bar, which was halfway up the boards, run from one end to the other. 34 They covered the boards with gold. They made gold rings to house the bars and covered the bars with gold.

35 They made the veil of blue, purple, and deep red yarns and fine twisted linen, with figures of winged heavenly creatures worked into its design. 36 They made for it four acacia-wood posts covered in gold with gold hooks and cast four silver bases for them. 37 They made a screen for the entrance to the tent of blue, purple, and deep red yarns and fine twisted linen, decorated with needlework. 38 They made its five posts with hooks. They covered their tops and bands with gold, but made their five bases out of copper.

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 34:9 LXX; MT adds my Lord.
  2. Exodus 34:18 March–April, named Nisan after the exile
  3. Exodus 35:7 Or dolphin skins
  4. Exodus 35:9 Heb ephod
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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