Exodus 34

1 The Lord said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you broke.
2 Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai and present yourself there to me, on the top of the mountain.
3 No one shall come up with you, and do not let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; and do not let flocks or herds graze in front of that mountain."
4 So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the former ones; and he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone.
5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, "The Lord."
6 The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
7 keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."
8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
9 He said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance."
10 He said: I hereby make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform marvels, such as have not been performed in all the earth or in any nation; and all the people among whom you live shall see the work of the Lord; for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.
11 Observe what I command you today. See, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
12 Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a snare among you.
13 You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their sacred poles
14 (for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).
15 You shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone among them will invite you, and you will eat of the sacrifice.
16 And you will take wives from among their daughters for your sons, and their daughters who prostitute themselves to their gods will make your sons also prostitute themselves to their gods.
17 You shall not make cast idols.
18 You shall keep the festival of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.
19 All that first opens the womb is mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep.
20 The firstborn 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. No one shall appear before me empty-handed.
21 Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even in plowing time and in harvest time you shall rest.
22 You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year.
23 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.
24 For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.
25 You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven, and the sacrifice of the festival of the passover shall not be left until the morning.
26 The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.
27 The Lord said to Moses: Write these words; in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.
28 He was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.
30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, 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 spoke with them.
32 Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face;
34 but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded,
35 the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Images for Exodus 34

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.

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Heb [YHWH]; see note at 3.15
  • [b]. Or [for thousands]
  • [c]. Heb [Asherim]
  • [d]. Gk Theodotion Vg Tg: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  • [e]. Heb [words]
  • [f]. Or [treaty], or [testimony]; Heb [eduth]

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