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34. The New Stone Tablets

1And Jehovah said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou brakest. 2And be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me on 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 Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two tables of stone. 5And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. 6And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, 7keeping lovingkindness 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, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 8And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9And he said, If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go in the midst of us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

10And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of Jehovah; for it is a terrible thing that I do with thee. 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: 13but ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim; 14for thou shalt worship no other god: for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot after their gods, and sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters play the harlot after their gods, and make thy sons play the harlot 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, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt. 19All that openeth the womb is mine; and all thy cattle that is male, the firstlings of cow and sheep. 20And the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its neck. All the first-born 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 plowing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. 22And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. 23Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord Jehovah, the God of Israel. 24For I will cast out nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou goest up to appear before Jehovah thy God three times in the year.

25Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. 26The first of the first-fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of Jehovah thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk. 27And Jehovah 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 Jehovah 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.

29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him. 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 spake to them. 32And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that Jehovah had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33And when Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34But when Moses went in before Jehovah to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went 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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