|<< Exodus 34 >>|
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
Hew thee - The former tables are called "the work of God;" compare Exodus 32:16.
The words - See Exodus 34:28.
2And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.
3And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.
4And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
5And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
This was the second revelation of the name of the God of Israel to Moses. The first revelation was of Yahweh as the self-existent One, who purposed to deliver His people with a mighty hand Exodus 3:14; this was of the same Yahweh as a loving Saviour who was now forgiving their sins. The two ideas that mark these revelations are found combined, apart from their historical development, in the second commandment, where the divine unity is shown on its practical side, in its relation to human obligations (compare Exodus 34:14; Exodus 20:4). Both in the commandment and in this passage, the divine love is associated with the divine justice; but in the former there is a transposition to serve the proper purpose of the commandments, and the justice stands before the love. This is strictly the legal arrangement, brought out in the completed system of the ceremonial law, in which the sin-offering, in acknowledgment of the sentence of justice against sin, was offered before the burnt-offering and the peace-offering. But in this place the truth appears in its essential order; the retributive justice of Yahweh is subordinated to, rather it is made a part of, His forgiving Love (see Exodus 32:14 note). The visitation of God, whatever form it may wear, is in all ages the working out purposes of Love toward His children. The diverse aspects of the divine nature, to separate which is the tendency of the unregenerate mind of man and of all paganism, are united in perfect harmony in the Lord Yahweh, of whom the saying is true in all its length and breadth, "God is love" 1 John 4:8. It was the sense of this, in the degree to which it was now revealed to him, that caused Moses to bow his head and worship Exodus 34:8. But the perfect revelation of the harmony was reserved for the fulness of time when "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" Revelation 13:8 was made known to us in the flesh as both our Saviour and our Judge.
7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
8And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
9And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
This yearning struggle after assurance is like the often-repeated utterance of the heart, when it receives a blessing beyond its hopes, "can this be real?"
10And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
Marvels - Explained in the following verse. Compare 2 Samuel 7:23; Psalm 77:14.
11Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
12Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
The precepts contained in these verses are, for the most part, identical in substance with some of those which follow the Ten Commandments and are recorded in "the Book of the covenant" (Exodus 20-23; see Exodus 24:7).
13But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
Cut down their groves - This is the first reference to what is commonly known as grove-worship. The original word for "grove" in this connection אשׁרה 'ăshêrāh is different from that so rendered in Genesis 21:33. Our translators supposed that what the law commands is the destruction of groves dedicated to the worship of false deities Judges 6:25; 2 Kings 18:4; but inasmuch as the worship of asherah is found associated with that of Astarte, or Ashtoreth Judges 2:13; Judges 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:4, it seems probable that while Astarte was the personal name of the goddess, the asherah was a symbol of her, probably in some one of her characters, made in wood in some conventional form.
14For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
15Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;
An expansion of Exodus 34:12. The unfaithfulness of the nation to its covenant with Yahweh is here for the first time spoken of as a breach of the marriage bond. The metaphor is, in any case, a natural one, but it seems to gain point, if we suppose it to convey an allusion to the abominations connected with pagan worship, such as are spoken of in Numbers 25:1-3.
16And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.
17Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
18The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.
19All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
20But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.
21Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
See Exodus 20:9; Exodus 23:12. There is here added to the commandment a particular caution respecting those times of year when the land calls for most labor. The old verb "to ear" (i. e. to plow) is genuine English.
22And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.
23Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.
24For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year.
Neither shall any man desire etc. - Intended to encourage such as might fear the consequences of obeying the divine law in attending to their religious duties. Compare Proverbs 16:7.
25Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.
26The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.
27And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
28And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
He wrote - i. e. Yahweh wrote Exodus 34:1.
29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
The two tables of testimony - Compare Exodus 31:18.
The skin of his face shone - Compare Matthew 17:2. The brightness of the Eternal Glory, though Moses had witnessed it only in a modified manner Exodus 33:22-23, was so reflected in his face, that Aaron and the people were stricken with awe, and feared to approach him until he gave them words of encouragement.
The word translated "shine" is closely connected with a word translated "horn"; and hence, the Latin version and others have rendered the verb "to be horned." From this rendering of the word has arisen the popular representation of Moses with horns on his forehead; e. g. in Michaelangelo's statue at Rome.
30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.
Paul refers to this passage as showing forth the glory of the law, though it was but a "ministration of condemnation," and was to be done away, in order to enhance the glory of the gospel, "the ministration of the spirit," which is concealed by no veil from the eyes of believers, and is to last forever 2 Corinthians 3:7-15.
When rather than until should be supplied. Moses did not wear the veil when he was speaking to the people, but when he was silent. See Exodus 34:35.
34But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
Moses went in - i. e. to the tent of meeting.
35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.