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The Journey Resumed

33 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought from the land of Egypt, to the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ I will send an Angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.(A) Go up to a land [of abundance] [a]flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are a stiff-necked (stubborn, rebellious) people, and I might destroy you on the way.”

When the people heard this sad word, they mourned, and none of them put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked (stubborn, rebellious) people! If I should come among you for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, [penitently] take off your ornaments, so that I may know what to do with you.’” So the Israelites left off all their ornaments [in repentance], from Mount Horeb (Sinai) onward.

Now Moses used to take his own tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting [of God with His own people]. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the [temporary] tent of meeting which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each at his tent door, and look at Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the doorway of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10 When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tent door, all the people would rise and worship, each at his tent door. 11 And so the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his attendant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

Moses Intercedes

12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray you, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways so that I may know You [becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, recognizing and understanding Your ways more clearly] and that I may find grace and favor in Your sight. And consider also, that this nation is Your people.” 14 And the Lord said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest [by bringing you and the people into the promised land].”(B) 15 And Moses said to Him, “If Your presence does not go [with me], do not lead us up from here. 16 For how then can it be known that Your people and I have found favor in Your sight? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we are distinguished, Your people and I, from all the [other] people on the face of the earth?”

17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have asked; for you have found favor (lovingkindness, mercy) in My sight and I have known you [personally] by name.”(C) 18 Then Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory!” 19 And God said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion (lovingkindness) on whom I will show compassion.”(D) 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man shall see Me and live!” 21 Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and while My glory is passing by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and protectively cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

The Two Tablets Replaced

34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you smashed [when you learned of Israel’s idolatry]. So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain. No man is to come up with you, nor let any man be seen anywhere on the mountain; nor let flocks or herds feed in front of that mountain.” So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and he got up early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took [b]the two tablets of stone in his hand. Then the Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with Moses as he proclaimed the Name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth (faithfulness); keeping mercy and lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; but He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting (avenging) the iniquity (sin, guilt) of the fathers upon the children and the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers].” Moses bowed to the earth immediately and worshiped [the Lord]. And he said, “If now I have found favor and lovingkindness in Your sight, O Lord, let the Lord, please, go in our midst, though it is a stiff-necked (stubborn, rebellious) people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your possession.”

The Covenant Renewed

10 Then God said, “Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will do wondrous works (miracles) such as have not been created or produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live shall see the working of the Lord, for it is a fearful and awesome thing that I am going to do with you.

11 “Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Watch yourself so that you do not make a covenant (solemn agreement, treaty) with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a [dangerous] trap among you. 13 But you shall tear down and destroy their [pagan] altars, smash in pieces their [sacred] pillars (obelisks, images) and cut down their [c]Asherim 14 —for you shall not worship any other god; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely His]— 15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the prostitute with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you [d]to eat his sacrifice (meal), 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters would play the prostitute with their gods and cause your sons also to play the prostitute (commit apostasy) with their gods [that is, abandon the true God for man-made idols]. 17 You shall make for yourselves no molten gods.

18 “You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover). For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I have commanded you, at the appointed time in the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.

19 “All the firstborn males among your livestock belong to Me, whether cattle or sheep. 20 You shall redeem the firstborn of a donkey with a lamb; but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. None of you are to appear before Me empty-handed.

21 “You shall work for six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; [even] in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest [on the Sabbath]. 22 You shall observe and celebrate the Feast of Weeks (Harvest, First Fruits, or Pentecost), the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering (Booths or Tabernacles) at the year’s end. 23 Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord [e]God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will drive out and dispossess nations before you and enlarge your borders; nor shall any man covet (actively seek for himself) your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times a year.

25 “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover (Unleavened Bread) be left over until morning.

26 “You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your ground to the house of the Lord your God.

“You shall not [f]boil a young goat in his mother’s milk [as some pagans do].”

27 Then 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 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he ate no bread and drank no water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

Moses’ Face Shines

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hand, he did not know that the skin of his face was shining [with a unique radiance] because he had been speaking with God. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to approach him. 31 But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him; and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites approached him, and he commanded them to do everything that the Lord had said to him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, [g]he would take off the veil until he came out. When he came out and he told the Israelites what he had been commanded [by God], 35 the Israelites would see the face of Moses, how his skin shone [with a unique radiance]. So Moses put the veil on his face again until he went in to speak with God.

The Sabbath Emphasized

35 Moses gathered all the congregation of the sons of Israel together, and said to them, “These are the things which the Lord has commanded you to do:

“For six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of complete rest to the Lord; whoever does any kind of work on that day shall be put to death. You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”

And Moses said to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever has a willing heart, let him bring it as the Lord’s offering: gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, fine linen, goats’ hair, and [h]rams’ skins dyed red, and skins of [i]porpoises, and acacia wood, and [olive] oil for the lighting, and balsam for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense, and [j]onyx stones and other stones to be set for the ephod and the breastpiece.

Tabernacle Workmen

10 ‘Let every skilled and talented man among you come, and make everything that the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle (sacred dwelling of God), its tent and its covering, its hooks, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12 the ark [of the covenant] and its carrying poles, with the [k]mercy seat and the veil (partition curtain) of the screen [to hang between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies]; 13 the table and its carrying poles, and all its utensils, and the bread of the [divine] Presence (showbread); 14 the lampstand also for the light and its utensils and its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15 and the altar of incense and its carrying poles, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, the screen (curtain) for the doorway at the entrance of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its carrying poles, and all its utensils, the wash basin and its base (stand); 17 the court’s curtains, its support poles and their sockets, and the curtain for the gate of the courtyard; 18 the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court and their cords; 19 the finely-woven garments for ministering in the Holy Place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons, to minister as priests.’”

Gifts Received

20 Then all the congregation of the Israelites left Moses’ presence. 21 Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s offering to be used for the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. 22 Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches, earrings or nose rings, signet rings, and necklaces, all jewels of gold; everyone bringing an offering of gold to the Lord. 23 Every man who had in his possession blue or purple or scarlet fabric, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and [l]rams’ skins dyed red and [m]porpoise skins, brought them. 24 Everyone who could make an offering of silver or bronze brought it as the Lord’s offering; every man who had in his possession acacia wood for any work of the service brought it. 25 All the skilled and talented women spun thread with their hands, and brought what they had spun, blue and purple and scarlet fabric and fine linen. 26 All the women whose heart stirred with a skill spun the goats’ hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other stones to be put in settings for the ephod and for the breastpiece, 28 and spice and [olive] oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 The Israelites, all the men and women whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work which the Lord had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill (voluntary) offering to the Lord.

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom and skill, with intelligence and understanding, and with knowledge in all [areas of] craftsmanship, 32 to devise artistic designs to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 33 and in the cutting of stones for setting and in the carving of wood, for work in every skilled craft. 34 He has also put in Bezalel’s heart [the willingness] to teach [others the same skills], both he and Oholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do the work of an engraver, of a designer, and of an embroiderer, in blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, and in fine linen, and of a weaver; makers of every work and embroiderers of [excellent] designs.

Footnotes

  1. Exodus 33:3 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
  2. Exodus 34:4 Some expositors suggest that the two tablets of stone were small enough to be easily carried. The pictures of Moses carrying large tombstone-size tablets are the result of an artist’s rendering, and are not supported in the Bible.
  3. Exodus 34:13 Symbols of the mother-goddess Asherah, usually a tree or pole dedicated to her and placed near her many shrines.
  4. Exodus 34:15 Lit and you would eat. It was commonplace in ancient cultures to invite friends to a sacrifice to a pagan deity. Aside from its religious implications, at the end of the ceremony the sacrifice became a meal for all present and served as a social occasion.
  5. Exodus 34:23 Heb YHWH (Yahweh), usually rendered Lord.
  6. Exodus 34:26 This may have been a pagan practice, perhaps a fertility rite.
  7. Exodus 34:34 The apostle Paul refers to this incident when he says that we all may, with unveiled faces, behold the glory of the Lord, and be transformed (2 Cor 3:13-18). That ability to personally approach God was once given only to the great leader of Israel, but it is now within reach of each individual believer. The gospel has no boundary keeping people at a distance from God; all believers may reverently approach Him.
  8. Exodus 35:7 Similar to morocco leather.
  9. Exodus 35:7 Hebrew uncertain.
  10. Exodus 35:9 See note 25:7.
  11. Exodus 35:12 See note 25:17.
  12. Exodus 35:23 Similar to morocco leather.
  13. Exodus 35:23 Hebrew uncertain.