Exodus 34

Listen to Exodus 34

Moses Makes New Tablets

1 The LORD said to Moses, 1"Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, 2and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, 3which you broke.
2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me 4on the top of the mountain.
3 No 5one 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.
5 The LORD 6descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and 7proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, 8"The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and 9gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast 10love and faithfulness,
7 11keeping steadfast love for thousands,[a]12forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but 13who will by no means clear the guilty, 14visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."
8 And Moses quickly 15bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
9 And he said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please 16let the Lord go in the midst of us, for 17it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for 18your inheritance."

The Covenant Renewed

10 And he said, "Behold, 19I am making a covenant. Before all your people 20I 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 21awesome thing that I will do with you.
11 "Observe what I command you this day. Behold, 22I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
12 23Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a 24snare in your midst.
13 You shall 25tear down their altars and 26break their pillars and cut down their 27Asherim
14 (for 28you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
15 29lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they 30whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and 31you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice,
16 and you take of 32their daughters for your sons, and their daughters 33whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
17 34"You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.
18 35"You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in 36the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.
19 37All that open the womb are mine, all your male[b] livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep.
20 The 38firstborn 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 39none shall appear before me empty-handed.
21 40"Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
22 41You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end.
23 42Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.
24 For I will 43cast out nations before you and 44enlarge your borders; 45no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.
25 46"You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, 47or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning.
26 48The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. 49You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."
27 And the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words, for in accordance with these words 50I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."
28 51So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he 52wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.[c]

The Shining Face of Moses

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with 53the 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 54shone because he had been talking with God.[d]
30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face 55shone, 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 56commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai.
33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a 57veil over his face.
34 Whenever Moses 58went 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 59shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Exodus 34 Commentary

Chapter 34

The tables of the law renewed. (1-4) The name of the Lord proclaimed, The entreaty of Moses. (5-9) God's covenant. (10-17) The festivals. (18-27) The vail of Moses. (28-35)

Verses 1-4 When God made man in his own image, the moral law was written in his heart, by the finger of God, without outward means. But since the covenant then made with man was broken, the Lord has used the ministry of men, both in writing the law in the Scriptures, and in writing it in the heart. When God was reconciled to the Israelites, he ordered the tables to be renewed, and wrote his law in them. Even under the gospel of peace by Christ, the moral law continues to bind believers. Though Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, yet not from the commands of it. The first and the best evidence of the pardon of sin, and peace with God, is the writing the law in the heart.

Verses 5-9 The Lord descended by some open token of his presence and manifestation of his glory in a cloud, and thence proclaimed his NAME; that is, the perfections and character which are denoted by the name JEHOVAH. The Lord God is merciful; ready to forgive the sinner, and to relieve the needy. Gracious; kind, and ready to bestow undeserved benefits. Long-suffering; slow to anger, giving time for repentance, only punishing when it is needful. He is abundant in goodness and truth; even sinners receive the riches of his bounty abundantly, though they abuse them. All he reveals is infallible truth, all he promises is in faithfulness. Keeping mercy for thousands; he continually shows mercy to sinners, and has treasures, which cannot be exhausted, to the end of time. Forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin; his mercy and goodness reach to the full and free forgiveness of sin. And will by no means clear the guilty; the holiness and justice of God are part of his goodness and love towards all his creatures. In Christ's sufferings, the Divine holiness and justice are fully shown, and the evil of sin is made known. God's forgiving mercy is always attended by his converting, sanctifying grace. None are pardoned but those who repent and forsake the allowed practice of every sin; nor shall any escape, who abuse, neglect, or despise this great salvation. Moses bowed down, and worshipped reverently. Every perfection in the name of God, the believer may plead with Him for the forgiveness of his sins, the making holy of his heart, and the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom.

Verses 10-17 The Israelites are commanded to destroy every monument of idolatry, however curious or costly; to refuse all alliance, friendship, or marriage with idolaters, and all idolatrous feasts; and they were reminded not with idolaters, and all idolatrous feats; and they were reminded not to repeat the crime of making molten images. Jealously is called the rage of a man, ( Proverbs 6:34 ) ; but in God it is holy and just displeasure. Those cannot worship God aright, who do not worship him only.

Verses 18-27 Once a week they must rest, even in ploughing time, and in harvest. All worldly business must give way to that holy rest; even harvest work will prosper the better, for the religious observance of the sabbath day in harvest time. We must show that we prefer our communion with God, and our duty to him, before the business or the joy of harvest. Thrice a year they must appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. Canaan was a desirable land, and the neighbouring nations were greedy; yet God says, They shall not desire it. Let us check all sinful desires against God and his glory, in our hearts, and then trust him to check all sinful desires in the hearts of others against us. The way of duty is the way of safety. Those who venture for him never lose by him. Three feasts are here mentioned: 1. The Passover, in remembrance of the deliverance out of Egypt. 2. The feast of weeks, or the feast of Pentecost; added to it is the law of the first-fruits. 3. The feast of in-gathering, or the feast of Tabernacles. Moses is to write these words, that the people might know them better. We can never be enough thankful to God for the written word. God would make a covenant with Israel, in Moses as a mediator. Thus the covenant of grace is made with believers through Christ.

Verses 28-35 Near and spiritual communion with God improves the graces of a renewed and holy character. Serious godliness puts a lustre upon a man's countenance, such as commands esteem and affection. The vail which Moses put on, marked the obscurity of that dispensation, compared with the gospel dispensation of the New Testament. It was also an emblem of the natural vail on the hearts of men respecting spiritual things. Also the vail that was and is upon the nation of Israel, which can only be taken away by the Spirit of the Lord showing to them Christ, as the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Fear and unbelief would put the vail before us, they would hinder our free approach to the mercy-seat above. We should spread our wants, temporal and spiritual, fully before our heavenly Father; we should tell him our hinderances, struggles, trails, and temptations; we should acknowledge our offences.

Cross References 59

  • 1. Deuteronomy 10:1
  • 2. ver. 28; Deuteronomy 10:2, 4
  • 3. Exodus 32:19
  • 4. Exodus 19:20
  • 5. Exodus 19:12, 13, 21
  • 6. Numbers 11:25; [1 Kings 8:10, 11]
  • 7. Exodus 33:19
  • 8. Numbers 14:18; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalms 86:15; Psalms 103:8; Psalms 111:4; Psalms 112:4; Psalms 116:5; Psalms 145:8; Joel 2:13
  • 9. Exodus 22:27
  • 10. Psalms 57:10; Psalms 108:4
  • 11. Exodus 20:5, 6; Deuteronomy 5:10; Jeremiah 32:18; Daniel 9:4
  • 12. Psalms 103:3; Psalms 130:4; Daniel 9:9; 1 John 1:9
  • 13. Exodus 23:21; Joshua 24:19; Job 10:14; Nahum 1:3
  • 14. Deuteronomy 5:9
  • 15. Exodus 4:31; Exodus 12:27
  • 16. Exodus 33:15, 16
  • 17. See Exodus 32:9
  • 18. Deuteronomy 32:9; Psalms 28:9; Psalms 33:12; Psalms 78:62; Psalms 94:14; Jeremiah 10:16; Zechariah 2:12
  • 19. ver. 27; Deuteronomy 5:2; Deuteronomy 29:1
  • 20. Deuteronomy 4:32-35; Joshua 6:20; Joshua 10:12, 13; 2 Samuel 7:23; Psalms 77:14; Psalms 78:12
  • 21. Deuteronomy 10:21; Psalms 145:6; [Isaiah 64:3]
  • 22. See Exodus 13:5
  • 23. Exodus 23:32; Deuteronomy 7:2; Joshua 23:12, 13; Judges 2:2
  • 24. See Exodus 23:33
  • 25. Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3; Judges 2:2; Judges 6:25; 2 Chronicles 34:3, 4
  • 26. Exodus 23:24; 2 Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 23:14; 2 Chronicles 31:1
  • 27. See Deuteronomy 16:21
  • 28. Exodus 20:3, 5
  • 29. [See ver. 12 above]
  • 30. Leviticus 17:7; Leviticus 20:5; Deuteronomy 31:16; Judges 2:17; Jeremiah 3:9; Ezekiel 6:9
  • 31. Numbers 25:2; Psalms 106:28; [1 Cor. 8:4, 7, 10; 1 Corinthians 10:27]
  • 32. Deuteronomy 7:3, 4; 1 Kings 11:2; Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 13:25
  • 33. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 34. Leviticus 19:4; Deuteronomy 27:15; [Exodus 32:4, 8]
  • 35. See Exodus 12:15
  • 36. Exodus 13:4
  • 37. See Exodus 13:2
  • 38. Exodus 13:13; Numbers 18:15
  • 39. Exodus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:16
  • 40. See Exodus 20:9
  • 41. Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 16:10, 13
  • 42. Exodus 23:14, 17; Deuteronomy 16:16
  • 43. Exodus 33:2; Deuteronomy 7:1; Psalms 78:55; Psalms 80:8; See Exodus 23:27-31
  • 44. Deuteronomy 12:20; Deuteronomy 19:8
  • 45. [Proverbs 16:7]
  • 46. See Exodus 12:8
  • 47. See Exodus 12:10
  • 48. See Exodus 23:19
  • 49. Deuteronomy 14:21
  • 50. ver. 10
  • 51. See Exodus 24:18
  • 52. [ver. 1; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:16; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 10:2, 4]
  • 53. Exodus 32:15
  • 54. 2 Corinthians 3:7; [Matthew 17:2]
  • 55. ver. 29
  • 56. Exodus 24:3
  • 57. 2 Corinthians 3:13
  • 58. 2 Corinthians 3:16
  • 59. ver. 29

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or to the thousandth generation
  • [b]. Septuagint, Theodotion, Vulgate, Targum; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  • [c]. Hebrew the ten words
  • [d]. Hebrew him

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 34

In this chapter Moses has orders to hew two tables of stone, that God might write on them the ten commands, and bring them up with him to the mount, Ex 34:1-4 where the Lord proclaimed his name, and caused his glory and his goodness to pass before him, Ex 34:5-7 when Moses took this favourable opportunity that offered to pray for the people, that God would forgive their sin, and go along with them, Ex 34:8,9 upon which he made a covenant with them, which on his part was to do wonders for them, and drive out the inhabitants of Canaan before them; and on their part, that they should have no confederacy and communion with these nations, and shun their idolatry, and everything that might lead unto it, Ex 34:10-17 and he repeated several laws before given, and urged the observance of them, which Moses was to acquaint the people with, Ex 34:18-27 and after a stay of forty days and forty nights on the mount, he came down with the two tables of the law; and the skin of his face shone so bright, that the people of Israel were afraid to come nigh him, and therefore he put a vail over his face while he conversed with them, Ex 34:28-35.

Exodus 34 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.