Contemporary English Version
The Lord Tells Israel To Leave Mount Sinai
33 The Lord said to Moses:
You led the people of Israel out of Egypt. Now get ready to lead them to the land I promised their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 2-3 It is a land rich with milk and honey, and I will send an angel to force out those people who live there—the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. I would go with my people, but they are so rebellious that I would destroy them before they get there.
4-5 Even before the Lord said these harsh things, he had told Moses, “These people really are rebellious, and I would kill them at once, if I went with them. But tell them to take off their fancy jewelry, then I’ll decide what to do with them.” So the people started mourning, 6 and after leaving Mount Sinai,[a] they stopped wearing fancy jewelry.
The Lord Is with His People
7 Moses used to set up a tent far from camp. He called it the “meeting tent,” and whoever needed some message from the Lord would go there. 8 Each time Moses went out to the tent, everyone would stand at the entrance to their own tents and watch him enter. 9-11 Then they would bow down because a thick cloud would come down in front of the tent, and the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, just like a friend. Afterwards, Moses would return to camp, but his young assistant Joshua[b] would stay at the tent.
The Lord Promises To Be with His People
12 Moses said to the Lord, “I know that you have told me to lead these people to the land you promised them. But you have not told me who my assistant will be. You have said that you are my friend and that you are pleased with me. 13 If this is true, let me know what your plans are, then I can obey and continue to please you. And don’t forget that you have chosen this nation to be your own.”
14 The Lord said, “I will go with you and give you peace.”
15 Then Moses replied, “If you aren’t going with us, please don’t make us leave this place. 16 But if you do go with us, everyone will know that you are pleased with your people and with me. That way, we will be different from the rest of the people on earth.”
17 So the Lord told him, “I will do what you have asked, because I am your friend and I am pleased with you.”
18 Then Moses said, “I pray that you will let me see you in all of your glory.”
19 The Lord answered:
All right. I am the Lord, and I show mercy and kindness to anyone I choose. I will let you see my glory and hear my holy name, 20 but I won’t let you see my face, because anyone who sees my face will die. 21 There is a rock not far from me. Stand beside it, 22 and before I pass by in all of my shining glory, I will put you in a large crack in the rock. I will cover your eyes with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back. You will not see my face.
The Second Set of Commandments
34 One day the Lord said to Moses, “Cut two flat stones like the first ones I made, and I will write on them the same commandments that were on the two you broke. 2 Be ready tomorrow morning to come up Mount Sinai and meet me at the top. 3 No one is to come with you or to be on the mountain at all. Don’t even let the sheep and cattle graze at the foot of the mountain.” 4 So Moses cut two flat stones like the first ones, and early the next morning he carried them to the top of Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded.
5 The Lord God came down in a cloud and stood beside Moses there on the mountain. God spoke his holy name, “the Lord.”[c] 6 Then he passed in front of Moses and called out, “I am the Lord God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted. 7 I keep my promises to my people forever, but I also punish anyone who sins. When people sin, I punish them and their children, and also their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
8 Moses quickly bowed down to the ground and worshiped the Lord. 9 He prayed, “Lord, if you really are pleased with me, I pray that you will go with us. It is true that these people are sinful and rebellious, but forgive our sin and let us be your people.”
A Promise and Its Demands
10 The Lord said:
I promise to perform miracles for you that have never been seen anywhere on earth. Neighboring nations will stand in fear and know that I was the one who did these marvelous things. 11 I will force out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, but you must do what I command you today. 12 Don’t make treaties with any of those people. If you do, it will be like falling into a trap. 13 Instead, you must destroy their altars and tear down the sacred poles[d] they use in the worship of the goddess Asherah. 14 I demand your complete loyalty—you must not worship any other god! 15 Don’t make treaties with the people there, or you will soon find yourselves worshiping their gods and taking part in their sacrificial meals. 16 Your men will even marry their women and be influenced to worship their gods.
17 Don’t make metal images of gods.
18 Don’t fail to observe the Festival of Thin Bread in the month of Abib.[e] Obey me and eat bread without yeast for seven days during Abib, because that is the month you left Egypt.
19 The first-born males of your families and of your flocks and herds belong to me.
20 You can save the life of a first-born donkey[f] by sacrificing a lamb; if you don’t, you must break the donkey’s neck. You must save every first-born son.
Bring an offering every time you come to worship.
21 Do your work in six days and rest on the seventh day, even during the seasons for plowing and harvesting. 22 Celebrate the Harvest Festival[g] each spring when you start harvesting your wheat, and celebrate the Festival of Shelters[h] each autumn when you pick your fruit.
23 Your men must come to worship me three times a year, because I am the Lord God of Israel. 24 I will force the nations out of your land and enlarge your borders. Then no one will try to take your property when you come to worship me these three times each year.
25 When you sacrifice an animal on the altar, don’t offer bread made with yeast. And don’t save any part of the Passover meal for the next day.
26 I am the Lord your God, and you must bring the first part of your harvest to the place of worship.
Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
27 The Lord told Moses to put these laws in writing, as part of his agreement with Israel. 28 Moses stayed on the mountain with the Lord for forty days and nights, without eating or drinking. And he wrote down the Ten Commandments, the most important part of God’s agreement with his people.
Moses Comes Down from Mount Sinai
29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai, carrying the Ten Commandments. His face was shining brightly because the Lord had been speaking to him. But Moses did not know at first that his face was shining. 30 When Aaron and the others looked at Moses, they saw that his face was shining, and they were afraid to go near him. 31 Moses called out for Aaron and the leaders to come to him, and he spoke with them. 32 Then the rest of the people of Israel gathered around Moses, and he gave them the laws that the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.
33 The face of Moses kept shining, and after he had spoken with the people, he covered his face with a veil. 34 Moses would always remove the veil when he went into the sacred tent to speak with the Lord. And when he came out, he would tell the people everything the Lord had told him to say. 35 They could see that his face was still shining. So after he had spoken with them, he would put the veil back on and leave it on until the next time he went to speak with the Lord.
Laws for the Sabbath
35 Moses called together the people of Israel and told them that the Lord had said:
2 You have six days in which to do your work. But the seventh day must be dedicated to me, your Lord, as a day of rest. Whoever works on the Sabbath will be put to death. 3 Don’t even build a cooking fire at home on the Sabbath.
Offerings for the Sacred Tent
4 Moses told the people of Israel that the Lord had said:
5 I would welcome an offering from anyone who wants to give something. You may bring gold, silver, or bronze; 6 blue, purple, or red wool; fine linen; goat hair; 7 tanned ram skin or fine leather; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the lamp; sweet-smelling spices for the oil of dedication and for the incense; or 9 onyx[i] stones or other gems for the sacred vest and breastpiece.
10 If you have any skills, you should use them to help make what I have commanded: 11 the sacred tent with its covering and hooks, its framework and crossbars, and its post and stands; 12 the sacred chest with its carrying poles, its place of mercy, and the curtain in front of it; 13 the table with all that goes on it, including the sacred bread; 14 the lamp with its equipment and oil; 15 the incense altar with its carrying poles and sweet-smelling incense; the ordination oil; the curtain for the entrance to the sacred tent; 16 the altar for sacrifices with its bronze grating, its carrying poles, and its equipment; the large bronze bowl with its stand; 17 the curtains with the posts and stands that go around the courtyard; 18 the pegs and ropes for the tent and the courtyard; 19 and the finely woven priestly clothes for Aaron and his sons.
Gifts for the Lord
20 Moses finished speaking, and everyone left. 21 Then those who wanted to bring gifts to the Lord, brought them to be used for the sacred tent, the worship services, and the priestly clothes. 22 Men and women came willingly and gave all kinds of gold jewelry such as pins, earrings, rings, and necklaces. 23 Everyone brought their blue, purple, and red wool, their fine linen, and their cloth made of goat hair, as well as their ram skins dyed red and their fine leather. 24 Anyone who had silver or bronze or acacia wood brought it as a gift to the Lord.
25 The women who were good at weaving cloth brought the blue, purple, and red wool and the fine linen they had made. 26 And the women who knew how to make cloth from goat hair were glad to do so.
27 The leaders brought different kinds of jewels to be sewn on the special clothes and the breastpiece for the high priest. 28 They also brought sweet-smelling spices to be mixed with the incense and olive oil that were for the lamps and for ordaining the priests. 29 Moses had told the people what the Lord wanted them to do, and many of them decided to bring their gifts.
Bezalel and Oholiab
30 Moses said to the people of Israel:
The Lord has chosen Bezalel[j] of the Judah tribe. 31-33 Not only has the Lord filled him with his Spirit, but he has given him wisdom and made him a skilled craftsman who can create objects of art with gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood. 34 The Lord is urging him and Oholiab[k] from the tribe of Dan to teach others. 35 And he has given them all kinds of artistic skills, including the ability to design and embroider with blue, purple, and red wool and to weave fine linen.
- 33.6 Mount Sinai: The Hebrew text has “Mount Horeb,” another name for Sinai.
- 33.9-11 Joshua: Hebrew “Joshua son of Nun.”
- 34.5 the Lord: See the note at 3.14,15.
- 34.13 sacred poles: Or “trees,” used as symbols of Asherah, the goddess of fertility.
- 34.18 Abib: See the note at 12.2.
- 34.20 donkey: See the note at 13.13.
- 34.22 Harvest Festival: See the note at 23.16.
- 34.22 Festival of Shelters: See the note at 23.16.
- 35.9 onyx: See the note at 25.7.
- 35.30 Bezalel: See the note at 31.2.
- 35.34 Oholiab: Hebrew “Oholiab son of Ahisamach.”