Then the LORD said to Moses, "Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your descendants.'
I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way."
When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments.
For the LORD had said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.' "
So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.
Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.
And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.
As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses.
Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent.
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.'
If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."
The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.
How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"
And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."
Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."
And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.
When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."
The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.
No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain."
So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.
"O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes," he said, "then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance."
Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.
Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
"Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.
And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
"Do not make cast idols.
"Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
"The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock.
Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons. "No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
"Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
"Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.
Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel.
I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.
"Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning.
"Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God. "Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk."
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."
Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.
When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them.
Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai.
When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face.
But whenever he entered the LORD's presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded,
they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,
will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.
And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.
But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.