Exodus 34

The Two Tablets Replaced

1 Now the LORD said to Moses, "Cut out for yourself 1two stone tablets like the former ones, and 2I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.
2 "So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to 3Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain.
3 "4No man is to come up with you, nor let any man be seen anywhere on the mountain; even the flocks and the herds may not graze in front of that mountain."
4 So he cut out 5two stone tablets like the former ones, and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his hand.
5 6The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD.
6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, 7compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;
7 who 8keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He 9will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, 10visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."
8 Moses made haste 11to bow low toward the earth and worship.
9 He said, "12If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though 13the people are so obstinate *, and 14pardon our iniquity and our sin, and 15take us as Your own possession."

The Covenant Renewed

10 Then God said, "Behold, 16I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people 17I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you.
11 "Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, 18I am going to drive out the Amorite before * you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.
12 "19Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst.
13 "20But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their 21Asherim
14 -for 22you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God -
15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and 23sacrifice to their gods, and someone 24might invite you to eat of his sacrifice,
16 and 25you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods.
17 "26You shall make for yourself no molten gods.
18 "You shall observe 27the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For 28seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the 29month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.
19 "30The first offspring from every womb belongs to Me, and all your male livestock, the first offspring from cattle and sheep.
20 "31You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. You shall redeem 32all the firstborn of your sons. 33None shall appear before Me empty-handed.
21 "You shall work 34six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.
22 "You shall celebrate 35the Feast of Weeks, that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.
23 "36Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.
24 "For I will 37drive out nations before * you and enlarge your borders, and no man shall covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the LORD your God.
25 "38You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread, 39nor is the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover to be left over until morning.
26 "You shall bring 40the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God. "Y ou shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."
27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "41Write down these words, for in accordance * with these words I have made 42a covenant with you and with Israel."
28 So he was there with the LORD 43forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And 44he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, 45the Ten Commandments.

Moses' Face Shines

29 It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the 46two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain ), that Moses did not know that 47the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him.
30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and 48they were afraid to come near him.
31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them.
32 Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai.
33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, 49he put a veil over his face.
34 But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, 50he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,
35 51the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face 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 51

  • 1. Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:16, 19
  • 2. Deuteronomy 10:2, 4
  • 3. Ex 19:11, 18, 20
  • 4. Exodus 19:12, 13
  • 5. Exodus 34:1
  • 6. Exodus 19:9; Exodus 33:9
  • 7. Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 4:31; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalms 86:15; Psalms 103:8; Psalms 108:4; Psalms 145:8; Joel 2:13; Romans 2:4
  • 8. Exodus 20:5, 6; Deuteronomy 5:10; Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalms 103:3; Psalms 130:3, 4; 1 John 1:9
  • 9. Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 7:10; Job 10:14; Nahum 1:3
  • 10. Deuteronomy 5:9
  • 11. Exodus 4:31
  • 12. Exodus 33:13
  • 13. Exodus 32:9
  • 14. Exodus 34:7
  • 15. Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:26, 29; Deuteronomy 32:9; Psalms 33:12
  • 16. Exodus 34:27, 28; Deuteronomy 5:2
  • 17. Deuteronomy 4:32; Psalms 72:18; Psalms 136:4
  • 18. Exodus 33:2
  • 19. Exodus 23:32, 33
  • 20. Exodus 23:24; Deuteronomy 12:3
  • 21. Deuteronomy 16:21; Judges 6:25, 26; 2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chronicles 34:3
  • 22. Exodus 20:3, 5; Deuteronomy 4:24
  • 23. Exodus 22:20; Exodus 32:8
  • 24. Numbers 25:1, 2; Deuteronomy 32:37, 38
  • 25. Deuteronomy 7:3; Joshua 23:12, 13; 1 Kings 11:1-4
  • 26. Exodus 20:4, 23; Leviticus 19:4; Deuteronomy 5:8
  • 27. Exodus 12:17; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:16
  • 28. Exodus 12:15, 16
  • 29. Exodus 12:2; Exodus 13:4
  • 30. Exodus 13:2; Exodus 22:29
  • 31. Exodus 13:13
  • 32. Exodus 13:15; Numbers 3:45
  • 33. Exodus 22:29; Exodus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:16
  • 34. Exodus 20:9; Exodus 23:12; Exodus 31:15; Exodus 35:2; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:13
  • 35. Exodus 23:16; Numbers 28:26
  • 36. Exodus 23:14-17
  • 37. Exodus 33:2; Psalms 78:55
  • 38. Exodus 23:18
  • 39. Exodus 12:10
  • 40. Exodus 23:19; Deuteronomy 26:2
  • 41. Exodus 17:14; Exodus 24:4
  • 42. Exodus 34:10
  • 43. Exodus 24:18
  • 44. Exodus 31:18; Exodus 34:1
  • 45. Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 10:4
  • 46. Exodus 32:15
  • 47. Matthew 17:2; 2 Corinthians 3:7
  • 48. 2 Corinthians 3:7
  • 49. 2 Corinthians 3:13
  • 50. 2 Corinthians 3:16
  • 51. 2 Corinthians 3:13

Footnotes 25

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

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