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a Bible passage
Moses Makes New Tablets
1The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” 4So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. 5The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6The 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, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands,11Or to the thousandth generation forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. 9And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
The Covenant Renewed
10And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are 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 this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
17“You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.
18“You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19All that open the womb are mine, all your male22Septuagint, Theodotion, Vulgate, Targum; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20The 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. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.
21“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. 23Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24For 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 anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning. 26The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.”
27And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28So 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.33Hebrew the ten words
The Shining Face of Moses
29When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.44Hebrew him 30Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
34Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
A Caution Against Idolatry. (b. c. 1491.)
10 And 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. 11 Observe 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. 12 Take 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: 13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: 14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 Lest 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; 16 And 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. 17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
Reconciliation being made, a covenant of friendship is here settled between God and Israel. The traitors are not only pardoned, but preferred and made favourites again. Well may the assurances of this be ushered in with a behold, a word commanding attention and admiration: Behold, I make a covenant. When the covenant was broken, it was Israel that broke it; now that it comes to be renewed, it is God that makes it. If there be quarrels, we must bear all the blame; if there be peace, God must have all the glory. Here is,
I. God's part of this covenant, what he would do for them, v. 10, 11. 1. In general: Before all thy people, I will do marvels. Note, Covenant-blessings are marvellous things (Ps. xcviii. 1), marvels in the kingdom of grace; those mentioned here were marvels in the kingdom of nature, the drying up of Jordan, the standing still of the sun, &c. Marvels indeed, for they were without precedent, such as have not been done in all the earth. They were the joy of Israel, and the confirmation of their faith: Thy people shall see, and own the work of the Lord. And they were the terror of their enemies: It is a terrible thing that I will do. Nay, even God's own people should see them with astonishment. 2. In particular: I drive out before thee the Amorite. God, as King of nations, plucks up some, to plant others, as it pleases him; as King of saints, he made room for the vine he brought out of Egypt, Ps. lxxx. 8, 9. Kingdoms are sacrificed to Israel's interests, Isa. xliii. 3, 4.
II. Their part of the covenant: Observe that which I command thee. We cannot expect the benefit of the promises unless we make conscience of the precepts.
1. The two great precepts are, (1.) Thou shalt worship no other gods (v. 14), not give divine honour to any creature, or any name whatsoever, the creature of fancy. A good reason is annexed. It is at thy peril if thou do: For the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, as tender in the matters of his worship as the husband is of the honour of the marriage-bed. Jealousy is called the rage of a man (Prov. vi. 34), but it is God's holy and just displeasure. Those cannot worship God aright who do not worship him alone. (2.) "Thou shalt make thee no molten god (v. 17); thou shalt not worship the true God by images." This was the sin they had lately fallen into, which therefore they are particularly cautioned against.
2. Fences are here erected about these two precepts by two others: (1.) That they might not be tempted to worship other gods, they must not join in affinity or friendship with those that did (v. 12): "Take heed to thyself, for thou art upon thy good behaviour. It is a sin that thou art prone to and that will easily beset thee, and therefore be very cautious, and carefully abstain from all appearances of it and advances towards it. Make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land." If God, in kindness to them, drove out the Canaanites, they ought, in duty to God, not to harbour them. What could be insisted on more reasonable than this? If God make war with the Canaanites, let not Israel make peace with them. If God take care that the Canaanites be not their lords, let them take care that they be not their snares. It was for their civil interest to complete the conquest of the land; so much does God consult our benefit in the laws he gives us. They must particularly take heed of intermarrying with them, v. 15, 16. If they espoused their children, they would be in danger of espousing their gods; such is the corruption of nature that the bad are much more likely to debauch the good than the good to reform the bad. The way of sin is downhill: those that are in league with idolaters will come by degrees to be in love with idolatry; and those that are prevailed upon to eat of the idolatrous sacrifice will come at length to offer it. Obsta principiis—Nip the mischief in the bud. (2.) That they might not be tempted to make molten gods, they must utterly destroy those they found and all that belong to them, the altars and groves (v. 13), lest, if these were left standing, they should be brought, in process of time, either to use them or to take pattern by them, or to abate in their detestation and dread of idolatry. The relics of idolatry ought to be abolished as affronts to the holy God and a great reproach to human nature. Let it never be said that men who pretend to reason were ever guilty of such absurdities as to make gods of their own and worship them.