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34. The New Stone Tablets

1And 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; 2and 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, 3and 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.` 4And 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. 5And Jehovah cometh down in a cloud, and stationeth Himself with him there, and calleth in the Name of Jehovah, 6and Jehovah passeth over before his face, and calleth: `Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness and truth, 7keeping 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.` 8And Moses hasteth, and boweth to the earth, and doth obeisance, 9and 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.` 10And 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; 12take 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; 13for their altars ye break down, and their standing pillars ye shiver, and its shrines ye cut down; 14for 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, 16and 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; 17a 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; 20and 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; 24for 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: 26the 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.` 27And 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.` 28And 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. 29And 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, 30and 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. 31And Moses calleth unto them, and Aaron and all the princes in the company return unto him, and Moses speaketh unto them; 32and afterwards have all the sons of Israel come nigh, and he chargeth them with all that Jehovah hath spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33And Moses finisheth speaking with them, and putteth on his face a vail; 34and 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; 35and 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.

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1. And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone Although the renewal of the broken covenant was ratified by this pledge or visible symbol, still, lest His readiness to pardon should produce indifference, God would have some trace of their punishment remain, like a scar that continues after the wound is healed. In the first tables there had been no intervention of man’s workmanship; for God had delivered them to Moses engraven by His own secret power. A part of this great dignity is now withdrawn, when Moses is commanded to bring tables polished by the hand of man, on which God might write the Ten Commandments. Thus the ignominy of their crime was not altogether effaced, whilst nothing was withheld which might be necessary or profitable for their salvation. For nothing was wanting which might be a testimony of God’s grace, or a recommendation of the Law, so that they should receive it with reverence; they were only humbled by this mark, that the stones to which God entrusted His covenant were not fashioned by His hand, nor the produce of the sacred mount. The conceit by which some expound it, — that the Jews were instructed by this sign that the Law was of no effect, unless they should offer their stony hearts to God for Him to inscribe it upon them, — is frivolous; for the authority of Paul rather leads us the other way, where he fitly and faithfully interprets this passage, and compares the Law to a dead and deadly letter, because it was only engraven on tables of stone, whereas the doctrine of salvation requires “the fleshy tables of the heart.” (2 Corinthians 3:3.)




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