Exodus 34

1 And Jehovah saith unto Moses, `Hew for thyself two tables of stone like the first, and I have written on the tables the words which were on the first tables which thou hast broken;
2 and be prepared at morning, and thou hast come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and hast stood before Me there, on the top of the mount,
3 and no man cometh up with thee, and also no man is seen in all the mount, also the flock and the herd do not feed over-against that mount.'
4 And he heweth two tables of stone like the first, and Moses riseth early in the morning, and goeth up unto mount Sinai, as Jehovah commanded him, and he taketh in his hand two tables of stone.
5 And Jehovah cometh down in a cloud, and stationeth Himself with him there, and calleth in the Name of Jehovah,
6 and Jehovah passeth over before his face, and calleth: `Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness and truth,
7 keeping kindness for thousands, taking away iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and not entirely acquitting, charging iniquity of fathers on children, and on children's children, on a third [generation], and on a fourth.'
8 And Moses hasteth, and boweth to the earth, and doth obeisance,
9 and saith, `If, I pray Thee, I have found grace in Thine eyes, O my Lord, let my Lord, I pray Thee, go in our midst (for it [is] a stiff-necked people), and thou hast forgiven our iniquity and our sin, and hast inherited us.'
10 And He saith, `Lo, I am making a covenant: before all thy people I do wonders, which have not been done in all the earth, or in any nation, and all the people in whose midst thou [art] have seen the work of Jehovah, for it [is] fearful that which I am doing with thee.
11 `Observe for thyself that which I am commanding thee to-day: lo, I am casting out from before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite;
12 take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitant of the land into which thou art going, lest it become a snare in thy midst;
13 for their altars ye break down, and their standing pillars ye shiver, and its shrines ye cut down;
14 for ye do not bow yourselves to another god -- for Jehovah, whose name [is] Zealous, is a zealous God.
15 `Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitant of the land, and they have gone a-whoring after their gods, and have sacrificed to their gods, and [one] hath called to thee, and thou hast eaten of his sacrifice,
16 and thou hast taken of their daughters to thy sons, and their daughters have gone a-whoring after their gods, and have caused thy sons to go a-whoring after their gods;
17 a molten god thou dost not make to thyself.
18 `The feast of unleavened things thou dost keep; seven days thou dost eat unleavened things, as I have commanded thee, at an appointed time, the month of Abib: for in the month of Abib thou didst come out from Egypt.
19 `All opening a womb [are] Mine, and every firstling of thy cattle born a male, ox or sheep;
20 and the firstling of an ass thou dost ransom with a lamb; and if thou dost not ransom, then thou hast beheaded it; every first-born of thy sons thou dost ransom, and they do not appear before Me empty.
21 `Six days thou dost work, and on the seventh day thou dost rest; in ploughing-time and in harvest thou dost rest.
22 `And a feast of weeks thou dost observe for thyself; first-fruits of wheat-harvest; and the feast of in-gathering, at the revolution of the year.
23 `Three times in a year do all thy males appear before the Lord Jehovah, God of Israel;
24 for I dispossess nations from before thee, and have enlarged thy border, and no man doth desire thy land in thy going up to appear before Jehovah thy God three times in a year.
25 `Thou dost not slaughter with a fermented thing the blood of My sacrifice; and the sacrifice of the feast of the passover doth not remain till morning:
26 the first of the first-fruits of the land thou dost bring into the house of Jehovah thy God; thou dost not boil a kid in its mother's milk.'
27 And Jehovah saith unto Moses, `Write for thyself these words, for, according to the tenor of these words I have made with thee a covenant, and with Israel.'
28 And he is there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights; bread he hath not eaten, and water he hath not drunk; and he writeth on the tables the matters of the covenant -- the ten matters.
29 And it cometh to pass, when Moses is coming down from mount Sinai (and the two tables of the testimony [are] in the hand of Moses in his coming down from the mount), that Moses hath not known that the skin of his face hath shone in His speaking with him,
30 and Aaron seeth -- all the sons of Israel also -- Moses, and lo, the skin of his face hath shone, and they are afraid of coming nigh unto him.
31 And Moses calleth unto them, and Aaron and all the princes in the company return unto him, and Moses speaketh unto them;
32 and afterwards have all the sons of Israel come nigh, and he chargeth them with all that Jehovah hath spoken with him in mount Sinai.
33 And Moses finisheth speaking with them, and putteth on his face a vail;
34 and in the going in of Moses before Jehovah to speak with Him, he turneth aside the vail until his coming out; and he hath come out and hath spoken unto the sons of Israel that which he is commanded;
35 and the sons of Israel have seen the face of Moses that the skin of the face of Moses hath shone, and Moses hath put back the vail on his face until his going 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.

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

Young's Literal Translation is in the public domain.